Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to recognize a scam - Email will be deactivated

How to: Recognize a scam email.  "Your request for EMAIL deactivation..."

A good friend of the family hosts their own email server at their business.  They received the following email, threatening to delete their business account if they did not act.  The message: 

Our record indicates that you recently made a request to deactivate email And 
this request will be processed shortly.

If this request was made accidentally and you have no knowledge of it, 
you are advised to cancel the request now. 

However, if you do not cancel this request ... your email data 
will be lost permanently

There was panic and mayhem...

This email was a scam. But, to the uninitiated, it is scary
and your first inclination is to click the big, important
button and make the problem go away.

What to look for

Click for a larger view

  • The "From" line was empty or was not your email service provider.   In this case, the From line was blank, but be aware it could be your normal email provider (Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.)
  • "Your request for email deletion...." was unexpected.  Any unexpected, out-of-the-blue email should be met with great skepticism.
  • Bad grammar.   I am constantly amazed at how bad the sentences are constructed and mistyped.  "you recently made a request to deactivate email And this request will be processed shortly" -- nobody would write a sentence this clunky And capitalize the word "And".
  • The email has one button - one easy, but urgent button.  You had better click it now or else bad things will happen.  This is a clue you are being scammed.
  • With a PC client, you can hover over the button and see the real link; in this case, ""  Who is this?  Certainly not your email provider. 

    We didn't click the link.  It could be an innocent advertisement, but more likely, it will ask you to confirm your email address and ask you to login.  When you do, you will probably lose control of your email account. 
  • The link can be disguised.  If you were a gmail user, the link could look something like this:


    All the stuff in front, no matter how official-looking, can be ignored.  Only the (.com) domain-part of the address is important.
  • The closing was again vague, "Email Administrator", but it could have a Google graphic, with Google's address, legitimate phone numbers, and all kinds of official stuff.

What to Do

With this email, it can be safely ignored.  Delete with no action, provided you didn't click the link.

If you clicked the link, and provided your login credentials, you are in trouble. 

a.  As soon as possible, login to your email account and change your password.

If you cannot login, contact your email administrator and try to reclaim your account.  Or with many email providers (Gmail, etc.), try the "Forgot password" or "my account has been hacked" links. See the end of this article for more help.

However, many thieves will leave your original password; see below.

b.  Check the email's forwarding rules to make sure your emails are not being forwarded to a third-party. 

Sometimes the crooks will compromise the account, leaving the password untouched -- but they use a vacation rule to forward all mail.  If you can't find this feature, look harder; it is there.

c.  Consider looking in your Outbox for unusual activity.  The better thieves will keep this clean and leave no evidence

d.  Look for Login history (for example, google, android) has this in your myprofile area.  It will show what cities were last logged-in from.  Naturally, you must be logged in to see this.  You might be lucky and they've not had time yet.

e.  Seriously, enable two-factor authentication for your email account (sometimes called 2fa, or MFA multi-factor authentication) and tie the login to your phone.

f.  If you know you were compromised, contact everyone in your address book and advise them to be suspicious of any unexpected emails sent by your account.

g.  If you have other accounts that share this same password, such as Amazon, Gmail, Twitter, etc., do these same steps to re-claim those accounts.  Do not re-use the same password on other accounts.  

See this helpful article:  Keyliner Better, Stronger Safer Passwords


Many of us now read email on a phone or tablet client.  The trouble is, you can't hover over the "link" to see where it is going.  If reading email on these smaller clients, do not click links until you can view them on a desktop or laptop.  But still, unsolicited, unexpected emails should make you think twice, if not three times.

Hosted Good

My friend hosts his own email server and it is old and out-of-date.  In other words, he is managing his own email system.  Because of this, he loses the benefit of having a global email provider's smart algorithms.  Hopefully you are not in this situation.  He now has more impetus to move his email to a hosted vendor.

When he forwarded the message to my email, I could not find it.  My ISP hid it deep within the SPAM folders.  The email was marked as "Read" so I wouldn't bother looking for it.  Not bad.

When the sane email was forwarded to Gmail, Google did this:
My office email would have replaced the "Cancel De-activation" link with the actual link.  I wish all email clients did this.  It is really handy.

All three of  my email accounts protected me in one way or another -- but diligence is still needed in case they miss the target.  My friend was lucky; the clicked-link on the phone went no-where, but I bet from a desktop client, it would have been more exciting.


Imagine if my friend had two-factor authentication on his email account.  Even if the crooks infiltrated his email account, having both his login-ID and password, they still could not login without his cell-phone.  Two-factor is not perfect, but it is better than a standard password.

I am reminded of a text message on my phone a few years ago, saying my "gmail account had been hacked.  Click this link to restore your password."   I laughed.  I was not hacked.  I didn't even bother checking my account.  I used 2-factor-authentication and they could not get past my phone.  I deleted the message and wrote an article.

He had a few moments of fear, thinking his business email account was about to be deleted, but once we saw the message, finding all of the inconsistencies and oddities, our fears were allayed.  We deleted the message and went about our day.

See these related articles:

Related articles: 
Keyliner Better, Stronger Safer Passwords
Keyliner: Using Google's Two-Factor Authentication
Keyliner:  Your Gmail account has been hacked
Keyliner:  Gmail Protection Steps

Google Account Compromised
Google has these instructions if your account were hacked and the password was changed:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Western Digital My Cloud Review

Western Digital My Cloud - Personal Cloud Storage -Installation comments and feature reviews.   Review updated for 2017.09.  I have now had this drive in service for over two years.  Still a recommended device and the software still works the same. 

I had a problem:  Of the 6 or 7 computers at my house, my 650GB External USB drive could no longer hold all the image backups plus, moving a portable USB drive from machine to machine was a nuisance.  None of this worked well for daily backups. It was time for a Network Attached hard drive (NAS - Network Attached Storage).

Western Digital (and other vendors) now sell relatively inexpensive "Cloud Drives" - basically a drive on the wire.  The drive is visible from inside the network and from the internet -- acting like DropBox, GDrive or OneDrive -- except the drive is in your house and there are no monthly fees.

I bought a single-bay, 3TB model for $170.  Also available is a 4TB dual-bay RAID-0 (with two 4TB drives, mirrored) for $350.   

With a NAS/Cloud Drive, you get these benefits:
  • Stand-alone; no server or dedicated PC needed
  • Large capacities, relatively cheap (3TB for $170)
  • Visible to all devices in your network; disk appears as a Network Share
  • Visible to all of your Internet devices, including your phone, tablet, laptops, etc.
  • Acts like a Drop-box, Gdrive, OneDrive, but lives at your house
  • Build public and private shares; invite other people to use the device
  • Supports continuous or scheduled backups
  • Supports Streaming Music and Video folders
  • No monthly fees
And you get these drawbacks:
  • Vastly slower than an internal SATA drive
  • Much slower than a USB connection
  • Cannot connect drive directly to a PC USB Port 
  • Not well-suited for Image (ghost) backups

Hardware Setup

The hardware is easy.  Plug in a Cat-5 network cable and launch a configuration program (see software, below).  The drive will be online and ready in a few minutes. But the setup has two flaws.  First, it picks a variable DHCP address and second, the default drive-name is confusing.  Both are addressed below.

The drive does not have a power switch.  To turn off, use the WD Quick View/Dashboard software.  Always power-off gracefully using the software. 

A device as important as this, deserves to have a UPS battery backup. Mine does.

Bewildering Software

Western Digital's software, and how to install them, is bewildering. This will frustrate even knowledgeable users.  When I am installing (or re-installing), I return to this page to see what I should be doing.

There are a half-dozen different utilities, all doing different things, and Western Digital does not help in explaining why or what you should do Western Digital has been improving the experience. Start here:

1.  Install hardware, as described above.

2.  Account and Drive Setup

Open this page:

Scroll to the bottom Software Download section,
Click "WD My Cloud Setup for Windows"

3.  At "Get Started," create an online WD Cloud account (this allows you to retrieve files from your drive while remote, recommended) and locates the drive in your network.   Write-down the email and password you used for this account.

Once it finds your drive, It opens a browser window.
Note the Settings button:

4.  Rename the drive from "WD My Cloud" to something meaningful.

In "Settings," change the name from WD My Cloud" to a more meaningful name.  I chose "WolfhouseSAN".  (SAN = storage-area-network drive)

Reason: With this product, everything is called "My Cloud this and My Cloud that".  It gets confusing.  With this rename, the device appears more naturally in Windows Explorer.  Do this now, before you install the remaining software.  This is hard to change after-the-fact.

5.  Optional, but recommended:  Change the drive from a DHCP IP address to a fixed, static address.

Reason:  This way, the drive does not change addresses when the router reboots.  When picking an address, be sure to pick one that is outside of your router's normal DHCP assignment range/pool. 

You can make an educated guess on what address to use with these steps:

a.  Discover your network's IP addresses

From the Windows 10 Setup Gear (click Start, Gear-icon). 
Chose "Network & Internet". 
Click on link "View your network properties" in the center-bottom section.
Note your machine's IPv4 Address.

Yours is probably 192.168.0.xx
Note your default gateway, probably

b.  Discover your WorkGroup

Launch File Explorer.
Highlight "Computer" (My Computer)
Other-mouse-click, select "Properties"
Note your workgroup name:  Mine is called "Wolfhouse" yours might be called "Workgroup"

Close File Explorer and return to the browser "WD Settings" screen.

c.  In the WD Settings screen, click the left-nav "Network" section.

Change from "DHCP" to "Static"
You will be prompted to enter several IP addresses.
Type an IP Address similar to your workstation's IP, but change the last octet to a high number
For example:  192.168.0.xx  -- change to

This is likely outside of your DHCP range.  Keep the number below 250.  If inclined, see your router's exact DHCP range, usually set from .10 to .50 -- be outside of this area.  Caution: Do not type your workstation's .xx address here!

Set the Netmask to the same as your workstation, likely
Set the Gateway address the same as your workstation, likely
Set the DNS Server 1 address to ""  (This is Google's DNS server, as good as any)

d.  Return to the left-nav's Network section.  Type the Workgroup name, discovered from above.

6.  In the left-nav, "Notifications" section,

Click New Email and type your email address.
Change the slider-bar from "All" to a center setting, "Errors and Warnings"

7.  In left-nav, Firmware, check for firmware updates.  Download and apply patches, as needed.

Continue with other Software

Install these programs, again looking at the bottom-section of the Western Digital, Downloads

8.  Download and install "WD Quick View for Windows"

This places a handy icon in the system tray and is recommended.
Essentially this is a dashboard.

9.  Download and install "WD Smartware"

This is the backup program -- and the reason you bought the drive.  I have no clue why they would name this program "Smartware" -- this is the backup program.  I recommend and like this software.  See below for important setup instructions.

Other Western Digital downloads are of dubious use  

You might consider "WD sync for Windows," if you have multiple PC's that all need to share the same copy of files.  I have not used this program yet.

WDAccess - allows you to copy files directly to the drive.  I have not used this program yet, and have instead copied manually using File Explorer.

WDBackup - a new backup program, released since I originally bought this drive.  The WD forums are unclear about the purpose of this program and why it is different than "Smartware".  However, all indications are Smartware is still the best program to use.

Be aware with all Western Digital downloads, they are a mixture of ZIP and MSI files and figuring out how to run the installations is complex enough to keep non-technical people from succeeding.  Roughly speaking, expand the Zips, copy the contents to a folder, then run the setup.exe.  If it is an MSI, other-mouse-click the MSI and select "Install."  Really?  Come on Western Digital - you can figure this out.  It needs to be one download, with a menu, and it needs to walk people through the installation.  My mom does not know what to do with either a ZIP or an MSI.

Smartware Backup

For normal day-to-day file backups, use the "Smartware" backup utility, which is one of the downloads above.  This is a slick program but there are several decisions to make and each has limitations and risks. 

It can run two types of backups, both electable at the bottom of SmartWare's Backup tab: 

1.  Category Backup, where it looks at the entire drive for particular file extensions, or
2.  File-by-file, folder-by-folder backup (my recommendation)  
  • "Category" backup looks for certain types of data files (by category, DOC, XLS, Music, video, etc.). 

    Approximately 300 extensions are supported, with a complete list of extensions on the support site.  I do not trust  this backup because unexpected file types, such as macro files, or other unusual files, such as a database, will not be backed up. 
  • Backup of Selected Folders - Recommended but with risks.

    Mark the (data) folders to backup, and exclude those you don't (such as Temp and Cache folders).

    For example, I mark "C:\Data" and C:\Users\me\Documents

    I recommend this method, but it has one giant caution.  The biggest problem with a File Backup is you have to include and exclude folders.  When a folder is marked, all files and folders within are backed up.  On the surface this is good.  But if new folders are added below the previously-marked folder, it will *not* be backed.  (A better design would have been to select the top-most folder, then mark selected subfolders to exclude, but that is not how the software was designed.

    Because of this, periodically check which directories are included in the backup or be religious about where you save your data -- always in a data or Documents folder. 

Each of the backups have two types of schedules:

A.  "Continuous backups" (not recommended, where the file is backed up as soon as saved) or

The Continuous backup is a neat idea, but chatty.  If you save your Excel sheet multiple times during the day, it will backup multiple times.  I have the software set to keep 5 generations (5 copies or revisions of each file).  With a continuous backup, you may consume all generational backups on the same day.  The sixth-save will roll-off the oldest.  This is all handled automatically, but it is nice to have a backup from 3 days ago and the continuous backup may be harmful in this area.

B.  "Scheduled Backup" (recommended, where it is periodically backed up, on a timed schedule)

A scheduled backup waits for an hour or day, then backs up all changed files.  See below on why this is recommended

Scheduled Backup Backup Frequency:

At first I ran the scheduled backup "Once per day" at 8:00am (I was likely not using the computer at this time).  All changed files would be backed, once per day.

But usually the computer was asleep and it would not wake up to run the backup, missing the step.  When the machine woke, usually in the evening, it did not run a catch-up job, instead it waits until the next (8:00am) job!  When I realized this, I had missed 5 days of backups.
To work around this, switch to an "Hourly" backup. This way, if a schedule is missed, it will catch-up the next time the computer is in-use and you are not beating the drive with a continuous backup.  This gives better control over the generational backups and even if the file is saved multiple times in an hour, it will only occupy one generation of backups.

Click "Enable Backup" to complete the schedule. 
Click the clock icon to backup now.
You can close the window; it runs in the background.

In the [Settings] tab, click 'setup software" and confirm the number of generational backups is set to "5" (or a higher number, as desired). This keeps five copies of each file, the last-5 changes.

Scheduled data backups have been glorious.  Automatic and unattended.  Restores are simple and reliable.

As a bonus, you can reach into the backups folders from a tablet or phone and show your friends the pictures you took the day before, without having to download them to the phone -- just reach into your cloud drive and look at last-night's backup.  This is not as the software was intended, but it works well.


The backup requires a login before you can use it -- but what login to use?  Western Digital was not helpful.  The answer is the same account you use when you log into the Windows desktop.  For example, on my Windows 10 machine, I login with ""  - use this same account, spelled the same way.  Windows 7 users, who are running a local account, the username will be shorter: for example 'trywolf'.

If you don't recall the actual account, open Control Panel, Users, "Make changes to my account" (see inset). 

Click for larger view

I have had other problems where Smartware cannot find a backup drive.
See this keyliner article for details:

Image Backup

Western digital did not provide backup software for "Image Backups" (Ghost images of the entire drive).  I use a third-party program called Acronis.

Acronis saw the drive* and the backup can run over the wire.  Be sure all of your switches and routers are gigabit speeds.  Even with fast switches, an "Image" backup will take 15 to 20 hours over the wire.  Image backups are not really what this drive was intended for.  

* Using Acronis on the Western Digital Cloud drive required adjustments in the backup job.  In the backup job, use the local workstation's login credentials (e.g. the account used to login into the workstation.)  For the destination, use a UNC path to one of the Shares defined on the SAN; for example "\\wolfhouseSAN1\Bak" and within that share, create a sub-directory to hold the backup. 

Restoring an image with Acronis is problematic.  The bootable Acronis recovery disk will not be able to see the cloud drive -- even though the Acronis Windows client was able to make the original backup.  As a horrible idea, you can restore to a bare-metal replacement drive by installing Windows, then Acronis, then the restore.  Instead, what I do is copy the image (.tib files) from the Western Digitial drive, to an external non-cloud USB drive, then boot the Acronis Linux disk.  From here, run a standard restore.  Of course, if you are trying to restore just a file or a directory or two, you will not have these problems; launch the program and restore the file.

Related: When making any disk-image backup (using a third-party program, such as Acronis), be sure to follow the steps documented here:  Disk Imaging Cleanup Steps

Other Backup Concerns 

Because the drive lives in my house, it is susceptible to fires, floods and other disasters.  You will still need GDrive (OneDrive, DropBox, etc.) for important off-site data backups.
Then there is this concern:  How does one backup the backup drive?  The Smartware utility provides a "Safepoint", which can mirror the entire drive -- but then you need a second drive large enough to hold this drive.  If you can afford to, buy the dual-bay mirrored drive, which helps solve part of this problem.   

You did put this drive on a battery-backup UPS, didn't you?

As a File Share

The drive can also act as a standard network file share.  Files saved on a share are available to all of your devices, all in a central location. However, this has been vaguely disappointing.

On the home network, seeing the share, saving and retrieving files, has been noticeably slow.  The slowness is found in two areas.

If the drive is busy running a backup, it will be slow for other clients - taking 15 to 30 seconds to load even a minor document.  And, if the cloud-drive is asleep due to inactivity, it will take 40 to 50 seconds to wake and retrieve the file. 

The drive supports separate user accounts and you can build multiple shares (folders), exposing them to the Internet or keeping them private to your network.  Essentially, the drive appears as an SMB NT Server, with shares on the disk pack.  This works as expected and the details are too boring to explain here.  Share and other settings are exposed in the System Tray's Dashboard.

USB Connections

The drive has a USB 3 port and you will need a male-to-male USB 3 cable, not supplied.  To my surprise, you cannot use this port on a PC.  It turns out this USB port is only compatible with the USB 3 port on a router ( Answer 1544) and only more expensive routers have this feature.  The USB connection will gain you nothing in speed; you are still restricted by your other workstation's network connection.   

Not being able to mount the drive directly to a PC was not mentioned on the box and this means I cannot run Image backups or restored directly on the drive (This is why you cannot use Acronis to directly restore when booting from the Recovery disk).

Some may complain the drive will not run over wireless.  If it could, it would take a month to run a backup.

As a Streaming Device

The drive also supports streaming.  For instance, I copied all of my digitized music to the Public Music folder, turned on the streaming feature, and now I have access to my music, from any device, both on the internal network and from the Internet. This has been entertaining and I was completely surprised about how useful this was.  See this article for details:  Keyliner Streaming Music with a Western Digital Drive.  Since then, I have discovered the joys of Pandora.


The drive is working wonderfully as a backup drive, especially when using the Smartware utility.  Image backups are too leisurely to be useful and with these, use a directly-connected USB drive. 

Using the drive as a standard file share has been disappointing because of speed issues. Sometimes the speed is acceptable, other times not, depending on when the drive is asleep. 

Western Digital needs to simplify the software installation and simplify the decisions that need to be made on how the drive is installed. It is confusing to have a setup program that does not include all of the needed options, and other naming problems, mentioned above.

The Support Download pages had the barest of descriptions -- descriptions such as, "This download contains the latest version of the WD Quick View for Windows," are not helpful.  Tiny description, such as "This is a utility that will discover WD network attached storage drives on the network and provide drive status information." -- Is this important?  -- Should I install it?  My recommendations in the chart above will help you get started. 

With the complaints aside, this drive accomplished my goals in a way that is hard to do with other methods.  I recommend it. 

Additional Costs

When considering your backup solutions, there are other costs, above and beyond the price of the drive.  Ideally, you would do all of these suggestions, at great expense:
  • Upgrade all routers to gigabit speeds. 
  • Buy a second Cloud drive to backup the first (or buy the dual-bay drive).  You have to worry about drive failures.
  • Pay for the professional version of Smartware and then subscribe to DropBox, Onedrive, etc. so you can have more than 2G of free space.  Use this for offsite backups of your most important data.  The Professional Version of Smartware backup makes this easier to manage (although I have not tried this myself).  You need to be able to schedule multiple, different types of backups.
  • Use a third-party product (Acronis) for Image backups.  Buy an external USB drive to hold them.
  • Put this drive on a UPS battery power -- after all, this is a spinning hard disk and it will not like power failures.  The router should be on UPS too.  As you can see, this can get complicated.

Related articles:
Disk Imaging Cleanup Steps
Keyliner Streaming Music with a Western Digital Drive
Smartware Drive not found

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ZYXEL C1100Z DSL Modem Setup

How To:  Manually setup a Zyxel C1100Z DSL vDSL Modem

Setting up a DSL modem/router is easy.  You can follow the vendor's installation steps, which sometimes require installing software or connecting to a setup-website or you can follow the steps in this article.

These steps are more complete than the vendor's and will take about 20 minutes to complete.  Almost all DSL routers and cable routers follow similar procedures.  Use these instructions for new or re-configured devices.

Note: The instructions in this article should be used when the DSL router has multiple workstation ports (1-4). If your DSL modem has only 1 (yellow) port, see the EA2700 article, below.

Related article:
Keyliner: Linksys EA2700 Wireless Router - First Time Setup

Your setup may not have optional devices.  However, I recommend using a separate wireless router because it has more capabilities and speeds than the wireless built into the DSL:

click for larger view

Basic Setup

1.  Wire the network in this fashion:

Click for larger image
a.  Plug the green RJ11 phone cable into the phone-wall jack. 

Plug the other end of the green RJ11 phone cable into the new DSL modem's "green" port.
Do not use a DSL line filter or DSL line dongle on the green line.

b.  Plug a (yellow) RJ45 network cable into any one of the four yellow ports, and plug the other end into your desktop or laptop's wired network jack.  This is a temporary connection for the setup.

If your workstation does not have a wired network jack, use the DSL modem's wireless for the setup, but this is not recommended.  It is easier to use a wired connection and the rest of the article assumes this.

c.  Connect the Router's power.

While the router is powering-on, do the following on your workstation or laptop:

-  Assuming you are using a wired connection: turn off your workstation's wireless antenna (especially if using a laptop.  Desktops may or may not use a wireless connection). 
See the system tray; click "Wi-fi" to disable. This forces the workstation to connect to the wired network.

- If you are using the DSL modem's wireless to configure the network, use the broadcast SSID and password printed on the side of the modem.

d.  Reboot your workstation to obtain a new IP address.

Note:  Your workstation will probably get an IP Address of

2.  Get the DSL Login credentials

From when the DSL line was first installed, you will need the DSL login credentials. This is the DSL circuit-login and is not the computer's login or any other login normally typed.  Usually, this is on a letter mailed to the house and is labeled PPP or PPPop login information.  If you have this, skip to step 3.
If you do not have the login credentials, continue

a. When rebooted, launch a browser and (at least with Century Link), the router will take you to a site, offering to login.  Using a recent phone bill, login with your ISP's account number and go through other screens to prove your identity.  Once you succeed, Century Link will display your DSL credentials.  Record the values; you will need them below.  Naturally, logins are case-sensitive.

If you still cannot find your DSL PPP login, contact your ISP.

Century Link / Qwest: 877.348.9005 or 888.777.9569
ATT 877.722.3755
Verizon 800.567.6789

Continue with the Setup

If you launched a browser (with CenturyLink), it will take you to a website, where you can follow the instructions on how to setup your modem.  Although the offered instructions are good, it does not actually do anything to your router -- the site is essentially an electronic tutorial and can be ignored in favor of these steps.

3.  Assuming you have rebooted the workstation, launch a browser and type this address:

You should be presented with this login page:

Type Administrator UserName:  "admin"
Type Administrator Password:  (see sticker/label on side of modem)

The UserID and password are case-sensitive.

If you do not get this login screen, confirm the yellow network cable is in one of the DSL Router's yellow ports - and not in the LAN/WAN port.  (Or, if you are using a wireless connection, confirm you connected to the wireless network printed on the router's label.)

Bad Password:  If you cannot login because of a bad password, the modem has a different password than sent from the factory (you would have done this previously). If the password is lost, the modem can be factory-reset by powering on the modem, using a paper-clip to press and hold the Reset button for 10 seconds.  Release the reset button, wait a minute, then try the login again.

4.  From the Zyxel main menu, select Quick Setup.

From step 2, type the DSL circuit login credentials. 
Your domain may be different than illustrated.
PPP Username:  *****
PPP Password

(uncheck [ ] Hide password; keeping you from having to type the password twice)

Change the "Custom Realm" pull-down menu, changing to your ISP's domain name.  For example, mine was changed to ""; yours may be "@CenturyLink", etc.  If your domain is not listed, leave as "Custom".

Click "Apply"

5. In "Advanced Setup", change the Administrator Password,

Recommended:  Change the administrator password to something you will remember.  The password must have upper and lower-case, a number, and a special-character -- which is odd, because the factory password is not so-restricted.

Consider this keyliner article: Password Schemes.  

Record the new password on the modem's label, and in your login documentation.  If you lose this password, you have to re-do all of these steps to recover.

6.  In the "Utilities" menu, click "Upgrade Firmware".

Follow the on-screen instructions.  You will basically download a firmware file, browse to it, and apply.  This is recommended.

As of 2017.09.01, Zyxel C1100Z's latest firmware is CZW0034.12.010.16.
If your version is older, it should be upgraded.  Return to this menu once or twice a year for upgrades.

7.  In the "Utilities" menu, set the Time-zone and Daylight Savings Time.

8.  Configure Wireless settings - even if you intend to disable this device's wireless.  This way, if you ever need to enable this part of the network, it will be pre-configured and ready to use.

In the "Wireless Setup" menu, set a new SSID broadcast name.

Change the network SSID name from "CenturyLinkxxxx" to a name of your choosing.  For example, my network is called "WolfhouseDSL".

If you have another, downstream wireless router, this name cannot be the same as the other router's SSID.  I append "DSL" here so I can tell the two apart.

Change the WPS PIN to a value you will remember.  Write this down.  This is used for automatic workstation setup, which some people like to use.

In "Wireless Security", change the Security Key/Passphrase to a string your will remember (this is the connection/passphrase for people to log into the wireless network).  Make sure this password is different than your Admin password.  Make it memorable.  For example, I use "wolfy DSL 1979".

Record this in your documentation.

9.  Decision:

If you have a second, wireless router (illustrated as, let that router handle the wireless traffic and disable the DSL modem's wireless.  I call this second router a "downstream router" and it will be faster and more capable than the wireless built into the DSL modem. This is recommended.

Because the DSL modem has 1-4 available ports, the downstream router will have special setup steps, documented in the next section. 

Caution:  If you are using Wireless to configure the DSL router, leave the wireless enabled until you are done with all configuration steps.  

If you are using a wired connection right now (to setup this network), and have a second, downstream wireless router, disable the Zyxel's Wireless now.  In the top-menu, "Wireless Setup," click "Disable"

Even if the Zyxel's Wireless is turned off, you can still connect wired desktops and laptops to the four yellow ports.

10.  Change the DHCP address range

Make this recommended change, moving the Zyxel's DHCP address pool from .2  to .10 -- giving room for other routers and hard-coded devices.

In the top-menu, Advanced Setup, choose the left-nav, "DHCP Settings"

Change the "Beginning DHCP address" from  to
Change the "Ending DHCP address" from     to

Optionally: I like to set the Lease Time to 3 days, although the 1-day default is acceptable.

"Apply" the changes.

The router is now configured and ready for use.

Secondary Wireless Router Wiring Changes

If you have a secondary wireless router (illustrated above as, do these wiring steps.  These steps will place all devices on the same subnet and the steps are a bit counter-intuitive.  Skip this entire section if you do not have a downstream router.

In summary, change the wireless router's IP address to a Static "" address, then disable DHCP.  This is a one-time setup, just to get the new router on the proper network.

The steps vary by manufacturer, but in general:

a.  Unplug the wireless router from all other network wires.

b.  Plug your workstation's wired Ethernet cable into any yellow-port on the wireless router (similar to how you connected to the Zyxel DSL router).  Or use wireless to connect to this device; see the owner's manual for the default SSID broadcast name. 

c.  Reboot your workstation to get a new IP Address.

d.  With a browser, login to the wireless router's admin page, using the default router's address.  See the router's owner's manual, but usually:  or

Login with (the published default password).  For example, see this article for more detailed instructions:
Keyliner: Linksys EA2700 Wireless Router - First Time Setup

e.  In the advanced settings [Local Network], disable DHCP

This is important: Do not allow this router to give out IP addresses; this will conflict with the Zyxel -- even if you pick a different DHCP range.

f.  In Connectivity, "Internet Settings," set the router's internal IP Address to a hard-coded (Static) IP address:

Static IP:
Subnet Mask:
Default Gateway:
DNS 1:  

where  "0.2" is on the same network as the DSL router (the third octet)

where .2 is below the DSL's router's starting DHCP Address Range  (which was moved to .10 - .100) in step 10, above.

where  is the same IP Address as the Zyxel DSL router

where DNS1 is "".  This is Google's DNS server - as good of an address as any.  Your ISP would prefer you use their DNS server, but Google's is safer.   (Some ISP's slip-stream their own content into data-streams.)

Apply the changes.  When you do, you will temporarily loose connectivity to the router.
Continue with the next steps.

g.  Power off the downstream router.

Then, run a network cable from one of the DSL router's 1-4 ports, into the downstream router's 1-4 ports -- any port, on either side will work (illustrated above with a yellow cable).  Do not use either of the WAN/LAN ports -- you want this router to be on the same network as the main DSL router, and because of this, you cannot use the WAN/LAN ports.

h.  Move your workstation's Ethernet cable to any free-port (yellow) port, on either device.  I like to move the cable back to the DSL modem's 1-4 ports.  Again, avoid the white WAN/LAN ports.

i.  Again, reboot the workstation to get a new IP Address.  Yes, this is a drag.

j.  Once connected, open the browser and type this IP Address: (the downstream Wireless Router's address) -- and again, login to the router's admin pages.  (Note: you can now also login to the DSL's router's admin by using the 0.1 address.)

Make these additional changes (see the Linksys article for more details):

- Set a memorable SSID -- make this different than the DSL's SSID -- example: Wolfhouse5G
- Set a Network password (for wireless access):  wolfy house 5G
- If the router has a second channel (e.g. 2.4ghz), SSID:  Wolfhouse24G
- Set a second password (for wireless access):  wolfy house 24G

If the router supports a third channel Guest network (most do):
- Set the SSID broadcast to "Wolfhouse Guest"
- Set the guest password (for wireless access): wolfy house guest

k.  Finally, change the Router's (admin) password, to a value of your choosing.  Write this down.

The wireless router's setup is complete.

Optional Switch

If you have an optional 8-port switch, illustrated above, do the following.

- Run a (yellow) network cable from any of the yellow 1-4 ports on the DSL modem to any yellow 1-8 port on the switch.  Do not use the WAN/LAN ports.  For minor performance reasons, you should not run the network cable from the downstream wireless to the switch; instead, go directly to the DSL modem's 1-4 ports.

-power-on the switch; you are done.  No software configuration required.

Analog Devices

If you have a land-line phone, the phone can be plugged into the Zyxel's phone jack and no DSL filter is required for this connection.  If you have other analog phones or analog phone devices, such as phone-based alarm systems, satellite receivers, answering machines, etc., you must use a DSL line filter on each of those jacks.  These will have to be purchased separately and can be found anywhere analog phones are sold. 

Printers, TVs

With printers and an internet-connected TV, I recommend running wired Cat-5 network cables.

If you can, run a wired connection for the printer; it is less of a hassle -- many printers (especially Brother printers) dislike it when the wireless router moves to a different channel after a power failure.  A wired connection prevents these types of problems.

Related article:  Keyliner Brother Wireless printer fails after power failure.

And, because of DHCP, printers tend to move around and get new IP addresses when they reboot.  This is a pain and it forces you to re-build printer connections at each workstation.  Regardless if wired or wireless, set the printer to a fixed or static IP address.  From the printer's main panel, set a hard-coded IP Address.  I like to use these settings:

Static IP Address:
Subnet Mask:

Default Gateway:

where 192.168.0  is the same network as the Zyxel DSL router.
where .200 is an address outside of the DSL Router's DHCP range.
where is the Zyxel's IP Address

Similarly, I also set the TV/Roku to a fixed address:  (keeping the number below .254).  Because it is such a high-bandwidth device, the TV should be on the wired network.  I always smile at people who buy a 100mb high-speed network connection for their house and then run the TV over a 10mb wireless network.


Sometimes, after a power failure, these routers loose their gourds and have to be re-configured.  Save yourself the hassle and buy a small battery-backup UPS for the network devices.  Plug the DSL modem and downstream routers and switches into the UPS.  Make this separate from the PC's UPS.

Most UPS's have two sides:  A battery-protected side and a simpler surge-protection side.  Be sure to use the battery side.

When powering on the network.  Power-on the DSL modem first.  Wait a minute, then power on the other devices.

Final Network Test

From any workstation, wired or wireless, running on the new network, open a browser and make one last connection to the new Zyxel router:

Login with your new admin credentials and confirm you can reach the configuration menus.  You should be successful. Then open a browser session to something like  The page should display.

If you have a downstream wireless router (illustrated above), now would be a good time to turn off the Zyxel's internal wireless.  From any workstation, return to the's configuration screens and disable.

Using any workstation, confirm you can get to the downstream wireless router's admin screen by typing this address:

If all this works, you are golden.

Record Keeping

It is embarrassing and painful to lose your router's passwords.
Write this information in a safe place because if the Internet is down, you can't exactly jump on the net to find your contact information.  Don't wait to do this because you will forget.

ISP Name: ______________________________________________

ISP Technical Support Number: _____________________________

DSL PPP Login Credentials: _________________ /  _____________

DSL/ISP Account Number: _________________________________
(Often the home phone number.  If no home phone, see bill for separate account number)

DSL Modem Model Number: _______________________________

DSL Modem IP Address: ________________________

DSL Modem Admin Login:  admin / __________________________

DSL Wireless SSID Broadcast Name: _________________________ [  ] Disabled

DSL Wireless SSID Password: _______________________________ [  ] Disabled

Downstream Wireless Model Number: _________________________

Downstream Wireless Router IP Address: ____________
(Optional, if you have a separate Wireless router; see below)

Downstream Wireless 5G SSID: ______________________________

5G Password: _____________________________________________

24G SSID: _______________________________________________

24G Password: ____________________________________________

Guest SSID:  ______________________________________________

Guest SSID Password: _______________________________________

Printer IP Address:  _________________________________________

Related articles:
Reset Linksys Wireless Password
Linksys EA2700 Router First Time Setup
Installing a NetGear DM111PSP ADSL Modem

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Microsoft Sculpt Wireless Mouse less accurate

I have found the Microsoft Sculpt Wireless Mouse is less accurate than either a wired or traditional wireless mouse.  I suspect the reason is the mouse transmits over bluetooth and is encrypted.  The encrypted traffic slows the mouse down.

I do not have scientific proof, but I know my experience and it has taken a long time to reach this conclusion.  You may not notice this problem in normal word-processing or browsing work.

Keyliner Review:  Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse Review.


I was reluctant to use this mouse because it was so large and ungainly.  It gets tepid reviews, even on Microsoft's site, but I learned to like the mouse, then to dislike it. 

A picture about the mouse is worth a thousand words.  Once I learned this, I understood the mouse:

In the end, I was surprised; this mouse is noticeably more comfortable than other mouse or trackpad I have used.

If you have an existing wireless mouse, abandon it and use the new mouse. Two reasons: 
  • The mouse is comfortable.  You will be surprised.  
  • The USB transmitter/dongle handles the keyboard, number pad and mouse. No sense taking up another USB port for a second transmitter for a different mouse.


I have found this particular wireless mouse is less accurate than wired mice.

I find I am subtly overshooting or undershooting the intended target, and often have to orbit pixels.  Definitely not a problem with a wired mouse.   It turns out this problem is well-known in gaming circles.

Not all wireless mice have this problem.  Because this mouse is encrypted, I suspect it takes it longer to calculate the position. The effect is barely detectable, but it noticeable if you are skilled; especially in drawing programs.  The encryption cannot be disabled so there is no way to test this hypothesis.

I have since abandoned the mouse, but kept the reviewed keyboard.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stopping Telemarketing Calls - ATT Call Protect

How to stop telemarketing calls when using AT&T cellular.

The AT&T program, "ATT Call Protect", is a free service that helps block telemarketing, surveys, scams and other such calls. 

The program is written by another company, "Hiya caller-ID and Block" and the two are nearly identical.  If you are not an ATT customer, consider the Hiya version, which can also be found in the appstores. 

I recommend this version over other call-blocking software I have tried.


ATT Android customers have to install two pieces of software from the app PlayStore:  "ATT Mobile Security" and then "ATT Call Protect," in that order.  I am unclear why both programs are required.  As you install, you have to go through some gyrations to connect to the ATT database and prove you are a legitimate ATT customer; all is menu driven. 

Apple users only need to install one application, "ATT Call Protect".

Non ATT customers should install the "Hiya Caller-ID and Block version."  I suspect this is easier to install, although none of them are hard.  In all cases, grant rights to your Address Book and to the phone.  Your address book acts like a white-list.


The tool works well but has a few small design flaws:
  • Calls are not blocked at the network, instead uses a locally-installed application.
  • On ATT Android phones, two applications are required for this one function. It took me several attempts to get ATT's access code typed in; their install is a bit kooky.  They Hiya version probably installs easier, but it will slightly change your Answer-phone dialogs.
  • Flagging calls requires a couple of clicks and a pull-down menu -- a bit too complicated for when you are angry.  The "Report" button is mis-named and should have been called "Flag."  This is really a minor complaint.
  • Unsure the difference between Report (flag) and Block.  Probably not material.
  • Flagged calls by other users sometimes still reach your phone.  They need to be blocked by enough people to stop arriving.  For example, I saw one call with 600 flags, but it still rang my phone.  This defies logic.
Even with the flaws, it is still worthwhile. The program works and I have been pleased with the results.

A locally-installed app is required because this is how you report spam.  As more people "flag" the number, its reputation gets bad enough to be "blocked."  It seems that 100 nation-wide reports is the trigger to move a caller into the blocked list.  The more of us who report, the more accurate and better-responding the app becomes.

Illustrated shows my phone has 13 legitimate inbound calls.  Four have been flagged as suspicious  (and they did not ring my phone - and yet for some flagged calls, they did ring... I am confused by this), and another 4 were blocked.  Clicking the numbers reveal more details.

Flagged or blocked, the calls still arrive at your phone, but they are in stealth-mode and you will not hear the ring.   I wish the call were blocked higher-up on the network, but this is a quibble and does not change your experience.

With flagged or blocked calls, the app proudly informs you on the top-notification bar.  I found this slightly annoying.  If desired, click the app's hamburger menu, settings, and turn off "blocked call notifications" (recommended).  Or, from the System, Apps menu, block notifications from there.

Periodically, I open the app and look at the inventory, nudging a few of the calls along their journey to block-dom. 

Complicated Flagging

You can simply ignore blocked calls and let others worry about reporting bad guys -- but the more who report, the faster it gets blocked.

If a call rings on your phone, that means nobody bothered to flag it.  With disgust, hang up and open the app; find the call and click either "Report" or "Block." 

If you click "Report", another menu appears, where you can select what type of call it was:

- General Spam
- Telemarketer
- IRS Scam
- Debt Collector
- Political
- Survey, etc.

I am sure this is useful, but nobody has time for this. Report the call and be done with it.  Perhaps an "Advanced Flag" button?  I can understand the reasoning, but seems like a lot of clicks and a too many decisions. 

I wish the "Report" button were labeled as "Flag" -- matching the rest of the screens.  

Competing Programs

In the app-stores you can find dozens of competing call-block programs.  Most are scams or are used by so few as-to-be ineffective.

One program, "TrueCaller" (out of Scandinavia), has been popular.  But like most apps, it contains advertisements and has in-app purchases. I tried "TrueCaller" for a couple of weeks and found it pestered me too often about upgrades and it pestered too often when it blocked calls.  I felt ATT's software was less intrusive.

ATT's Call Protect was written by a company named Hiya.  Hiya's own program, "Hiya caller-ID and Block" is available separately in the app store, with 5M downloads.  I did not try this version, but it looks nearly identical.  I suspect ATT purchased a license and both versions use the same database.  The Hiya version overlays the phone-answer panels with their own screens, making it slightly different than you might be used to.  I decided to use the ATT version.  Your thoughts on this program are welcome.

Other Minor Issues with ATT Software:

My ATT phone came with the usual array of crap-ware, including "ATT Protect Plus" -- which I think is an older version of ATT Call Protect.  You cannot un-install that software, being locked into my phone, and one wonders if they have conflicts.  Your phone may have a different experience.

Use this keyliner article to disable the older version (and other programs):

My phone also came with a security and virus scanning program called "Lookout".  Unfortunately, this cannot be uninstalled or disabled.  "ATT's Mobile Security" (the first of two required programs used by the call-blocking software) is written by the same Lookout company.  As near as I can tell, both programs are running at the same time and both do the same thing.  Except for wasted resources, I have seen no harm.  I happen to like ATT's version and without any grounds, I trust it more than the free version that came on my phone.


If you are an ATT customer, install their version; if you are not an ATT customer, consider the Hiya version.  Participate in flagging and blocking unwanted calls and help the database grow. 

I have noticed some Verizon phones have similar features and it may be part of the Samsung experience.  My Verizon friends thought this was normal and never had to go out of their way to install.  This shows there is a fine line between having unwanted crapware and having a truly useful utility.  I think the key is un-install-ability. And what if you are lonely and want these calls?  What if you like to harass them?  The world is complicated.

Related Articles:
Disable unwanted Cell phone crapware

Related and mentioned software:
ATT Protect Home Page
Hiya Caller-ID and Block (see App Stores)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

HP35s Scientific Calculator with RPN

Review: General review of HP's RPN calculators and why you should switch. I just bought a new HP35s.

HP35s Scientific Calculator (RPN)

Author's note: Although this article is dated, first written in 2009, I smiled today as I reviewed it and decided to re-publish it.  I am still using these same calculators!

This is a digression from the usual computer topics. If you need to calculate more than simply adding and multiplying numbers, consider using an HP "RPN" calculator. In this short article, I will explain why this type of calculator is better than a standard "Algebraic" calculator.

(Illustration: My new calculator and my daughter's statistics text book)

Consider this formula. Using your current calculator, compute the result:

  • Did you get the right answer the first time?
  • Did you write down intermediate answers?
  • Did you type parenthesis?
  • Were you confident, as you entered the numbers, that you were on the right track or did you have to wait for the final equal-sign before you were done?

Now try this formula:

Again, the same questions:
  • Were you confident?
  • Did you see the intermediate results?
  • Did you have to save values into Memory (M1), (M2)?
  • Did you type a boat-load of parenthesis?

My daughter, with her expensive TI calculator, tried these formulas several times and was not confident in her results.

Here is the surprise:

With an HP (RPN) calculator, you would get the correct answer the first time. You would have a high degree of confidence, knowing each intermediate step was reasonable -- with results displayed as you type formulas.

For example, on the HP, you would see the following:

- As you typed "2+3" you would see "5"
- As you typed "4+5" you would see "9"
- and when multiplied together (2+3) x (4+5) you would see "45"

RPN calculators show intermediate results and there are no parenthesis, nor do you need to store values in "M" (memory) -- the calculator handles all of this for you.   

What is RPN?

RPN stands for Reverse Polish Notation. The gist is this: You enter the formulas in the same way you would if solving on paper and pencil; solving from left-to-right, inner-parenthesis first, using "My Dear Aunt Sally" (multiplication and division before addition and subtraction). These are the same rules learned in 3rd-grade.

RPN keystrokes are different than an algebraic calculator. With RPN, you type the first number,then press ENTER and type the second number.  After the two numbers are typed, press the function (add, subtract, etc.)  Of interest, there is no "Equal" key.

This works to your advantage. With this, you can type the most horrendous function and never once have to type a parenthesis or save an intermediate value.

Using the first example, the keystrokes would be this:

2 (Enter, separates this first number from the second)
3 +
The calculator shows the intermediate result: 5

4 (Enter, separates this from the above "5" *)
5 +
The calculator shows the intermediate result: 9
x (times)
The calculator shows: 45
The calculator shows the intermediate result: 6.708

Without pressing any other keys, begin the second part of the equation by typing:
6 (Enter *Technically, this ENTER is not required because the SQRT resolved)
7 + .... etc.
completing this part the same as the first.
Once completed, press "+", adding the two big sections together.

At each stage, intermediate results are always displayed. Yes, the keystrokes are counter-intuitive, but after practicing for ten minutes, you will never forget and you will never go back.

I have used HP's RPN for so many years I can no longer use a "standard" calculator and I am embarrassed when forced to -- I can only solve the simplest equations on those types of calculators -- Algebraic calculators now seem completely foreign to me.

Choosing an HP Calculator:
  • HP makes both Algebraic (press "Equals) and RPN calculators (press "Enter") -- be sure to pick the right model.
HP divides the world into two types: Financial and Scientific. If you are a banker or real estate, choose a Financial calculator (12c). Otherwise, choose the Scientific calculators (even if you are not a scientist). Here are my recommendations:

Scientific/Non-business Calculators:
HP33s ($40.00) low-end calculator. 
If you can, buy the 35s; it has a better keyboard.

HP35s ($60.00) Recommended

HP50g ($150.00) Graphing (now dated)

HPG8X92AA (graphic)  I will be buying this calculator next:

Business: (Interest/PMT/Financial)
HP12C ($70)

This is an Industry Standard calculator for all financial users. HP reviewed this calculator a few years ago and decided, even after 30 years of production, nothing needed changed. This same calculator, with the same features, has been produced since then. Remarkable.

Look and Feel:
These calculator are pleasurable to use. The buttons "feel" substantial; with a solid, satisfying 'click' as you type. People who use HP calculators rave about the keyboard -- it is unlike any other calculator. When HP has made some cheaper models, with cheaper keyboards (the 33s, for example), users complained.

I believe all of the scientific calculators are programmable (you can write your own functions, automating common tasks).

The other thing about these calculators is they never die. My first HP11c is now approaching 30 years old and I still use it several times a week. I think I've changed the batteries three times in all those years.  It uses standard watch batteries.

My other HP calculator, which sits at home, is a 20-year-old HP32s and I only recently replaced it with a newer 35s for no other reason than I wanted to see what the new calculators looked like.

In short: If you are in school, or if you need to do a bit more than common math, spend a few dollars, get a quality calculator. Take twenty minutes studying the first couple of chapters in the manual, and you will never go back to those old, stinky, run-of-the-mill calculators again.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

WD Smartware Password Problem

How to: Western Digital SmartWare backup prompts for user-id and password.

Problem:  Western Digital Smartware backup is prompting for a user-id and password and you don't know what it is. 

Likely Solution:

1.  In the Smartware program, click the SanDrive/Cloud Drive's pull-down menu, illustrated below in the circle'd highlight area. Change the pull-down menu to the the backup (share).

On my drive, my backup volume is named "SmartwareBackup".  Choose the backup volume and the password problem should go away.

2.  Once the backup volume is selected, click the WD My Cloud icon and give it a few seconds to login.  When successful, the [Backup] tab should be enabled.

An area I am Unsure:

If you do the steps above, I don't think you will need credentials.  But, if you need the user-id and password, do the following:

1.  Start, Run, CMD (A command Prompt/ DOS Prompt)
2.  Note the c:> prompt.  For example, mine reads:


where "trayw" is my account name.

3.  For your login credentials, type "trayw".  For the password, use the password you use when first booting and logging into the machine; using your Windows password.

For setup and backup strategies, see this keyliner article:
Western Digitial My Cloud Review   (In particular, note the Data Backup section)