By Bob Delaurentis
Senior Wire 

Printer woes, backup settings, Facebook 'news'

Bob's Tech Talk


September 1, 2020

Q. I can’t print from my laptop computer. When I checked if my HP5255 was connected, I found a printer email address that ended with I also do not understand why that address is different than my regular email address.

A. I feel your pain. Troubleshooting printer problems is one of the toughest aspects of home computing. Moreover, helping to fix printer problems is hobbled by the fact that everyone’s setup is slightly different.

Keep in mind that there are two connections that must both work. The first is the “hardware” connection between the computer and printer. This is often a USB cable, but it can be a network or Wi-Fi connection. The obvious things are still the most easily overlooked. Can it print a test page? Often a test page has helpful status info. If you are using a wireless connection, try switching to a cable temporarily. Or if you already use a cable, try a different USB port on your laptop.

The second is the “software” connection. This includes the printer driver, the application that is sending the print job, or a service like cloud printing. Once again the large number of potential possibilities is a hurdle. Make sure your software is up to date. Check if the printer is listed in the Device Manager. Try printing from a different application.

With respect to the email address, HP printers can accept jobs using the HPConnect service. But in order for that to work, the printer must be connected to the internet, and you need to configure an additional cloud service.

Unless this was working for you and suddenly quit, ignore this approach. Cloud printing makes your workflow even more fragile. Stick with a simple USB cable.

Q. When I go to the control panel to start a backup I am prompted to select the E drive. I prefer to use my Seagate device, which registers as drive F. What can I do to change this?

A. It sounds as if you are at the mercy of incorrect default settings. Most settings have a default, and most of the time they work so well we barely notice them. Because your Seagate mounts as an F drive, it appears to be working properly.

If you are not already doing so, insert the Seagate drive and wait a few seconds until it appears before you open the Control Panel. That one change alone may solve the problem.

If the Control Panel is still suggesting the E drive, there should be a button that allows you to change to the F drive to perform the backup. This change may or may not “stick” the next time, depending on the version of Windows and a few other variables.

To make a permanent change, you will have to find and change the backup settings.

In any event, make sure that the Seagate drive is connected before starting the backup. Even if you change the default settings, if the backup tool does not detect the F drive when it opens, it may not be able to use it.

Q. Since Facebook has said that they take action on false content, does that mean the posts I see are more likely to be accurate?

A. Virtually everything you see on Facebook is someone else’s opinion, not fact. Even traditional, well-known news sources often lack essential context. Using Facebook for news is like asking for advice from a Magic 8-Ball.

The time it takes some videos to spread across the Internet is measured in hours. In a recent incident, a video flagged as containing erroneous information about COVID-19 was already seen by 14 million people. Facebook does flag some content, but they do not notify the people who have already watched it.

Here is just a single example of the many problems on Facebook. Sometimes posts are removed. But in other cases an overlay is placed atop a story with the text “False Information.” Although that notice appears when I use a Web browser, if I look at the same article in the Facebook app on my mobile device, the warning is missing.

The bottom line is that you should not trust social networks like Facebook or YouTube for news.

Wander the Web

Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:

Perspective News Sources

This website has two noteworthy sections. The first section lists links to online news stories. The second is an index that sorts news sources by political perspective.

For Dictionary Fans

It may surprise you that some people read a dictionary for fun. This blog of invented wordplay may not be fun, but its very existence speaks volumes.

Reversed Recipe Search Engine

Enter the ingredients you have on hand to find recipes that use them.

A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob can be contacted at


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