Help! My hard drive is full, what do I do?

Ask Mr. Modem

Q. What happens when an external hard drive runs out of space? Does that mean I have to spend money to buy a new one?

A. When you start to run out of space on your external drive, one possibility is to purchase another, larger drive. A better option is to take a look at your saved files and see if you can thin the herd. Try to make a point of periodically reviewing your files and deleting items you don’t really and truly need to save.

Old files are a lot like old clothes in a closet: If you haven’t worn something in a year or two (or used a file), chances are you aren’t going to need it again, so you might want to think about deleting it.

Q. Help! I need some easy steps to restore my iPhone 4S to the operating system I had before I updated it to the current iOS 7. I don’t like the new operating system.

A. Unfortunately, you cannot go back to the previous operating system. It’s all part of Apple’s grand plan to ensure that all users of its devices share the same experience. While every Android device is just a little different – which creates its own set of challenges – Apple mandates conformity in their devices, which has its advantages and disadvantages, as well.

iOS 7 is simply a bit different than what you were accustomed to previously, but like anything, the more you use it, the more familiar it will become. Since you can’t go back, you might as well enjoy the journey forward. The next time there is a major iOS update, you might want to hold off and not install it for a while. Mrs. Modem isn’t using iOS 7 because she didn’t want to bother with a new operating system, so she never updated it. That’s an option we always have with our current devices.

You will find lots of helpful information on the Apple Web site, including the iOS 7 User Guide at There are also many video tutorials on YouTube, so just search for “iOS 7.”

Q. I recently purchased a Kindle Fire HDX, but I still have a perfectly good first-generation Kindle Fire that I don’t need anymore. How can I give it to somebody and not have it still registered to me or my Amazon account?

A. With most tablets, all you need to do is perform a factory reset and all of your personal information will be erased. Kindles, because they are tied to your Amazon account, require a two-step process to make sure your personal information is erased and to get the tablet ready for the next user.

The first thing to do is deregister your Kindle so that it is no longer tied to your account. This prevents anyone from purchasing items and having them charged to your Amazon account. Eek! To deregister your Kindle using the device itself, tap the Quick Settings icon, then More > Choose My Account. Select the device you want to deregister and tap Deregister.

You can also deregister by going to, selecting Your Account and choosing Manage Your Kindle > Manage Your Devices. You will see all the devices registered to your account. Choose the appropriate one and tap or click Deregister.

Once the Kindle is no longer connected to your Amazon account you can clear all of your personal information and data off the device in one swell foop. To do this, tap the Quick Settings icon > More > Device. Tap Reset to Factory Defaults. The device will restart and all your information will be gone with the wind: Your books, your apps, your music, your video… poof! Gone.

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month

Attack of the Cute

What’s not to like about cute and cuddly animals? “Hello, little pit bull; that’s a good pit bull. My, what powerful jaws you have.” To navigate the site, scroll down through the cuteness and click the Next button.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Jerry Seinfeld chats with fellow comedians over a cup of coffee. Hilarious! Each video is approximately 15 to 20 minutes in length and as it is with most comedy today, there is occasional profanity and adult-oriented material. Interviewees include Michael Richards, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Ricky Gervais, Larry David, David Letterman, Don Rickles, Chris Rock and others. If you like Seinfeld, don’t miss these episodes. Some are truly laugh-out-loud funny.


This is a thought-provoking visual with narrative. When viewing a photograph of the Earth from such a great distance, the implications may not be immediately clear. Listen as the late astronomer/physicist Carl Sagan explains that we are but a tiny, insignificant speck in the cosmos. Beautifully executed...and humbling.

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