After reading your column about updating Windows 7 (see, I typed your tinyurl address into my browser and got strange results. A repeating audio warning said I had a virus and spyware infection, and that I should call the number on the screen (855-257-9669) before the PC became disabled. I restarted the PC and got the same warning. I then ran Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (find it at, which found nothing amiss. Finally, I called the number on the screen and played along while a man urged me to give him remote access to my PC, then hung up. Was this situation caused by your tinyurl? — Chuck Wilkinson, Eau Claire, Wis.

No. While I’m glad you realized the man on the phone was running a scam, this wasn’t a chain reaction caused by you typing my tinyurl into your browser. It was caused by a malicious program on your PC that is still active and needs to be removed.

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: Please include a full name, city and phone number.

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