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What to Do if Your Laptop Has No Sound



What to Do if Your Laptop Has No Sound

There’s nothing like cranking up some tunes to maintain your momentum going in the course of the workday. But when your laptop computer audio system aren’t working, it might actually kill your groove. It may be arduous to determine the problem; is it your headphones or may there be one thing unsuitable inside your pc? This is the way to troubleshoot your PC if you don’t get any sound.

Examine Your Quantity

This appears apparent, however I am unable to inform you what number of instances I’ve unintentionally muted my quantity, solely to slap my brow in exasperation later. Click on the speaker icon within the bottom-right nook of the Home windows 10 taskbar, and ensure your quantity is unmuted and turned up.

windows 11 volume

In Home windows 11, the Wi-Fi, quantity, and battery settings are discovered through a single button on the taskbar. Click on it, choose the quantity bar, and drag it to the proper to show up the sound; if you let go, it is best to hear a “ding.”

macos volume

Mac customers working macOS Massive Sur or later could have the sound controls hidden inside the Management Heart icon within the top-right nook of the display screen. Drag the Sound bar to the proper to make issues louder. For units working an older OS, there can be a person sound button as a substitute.

In case you have exterior audio system plugged in, be sure that they’re turned on and turned up, too. If you happen to hear a ding when the quantity is elevated, the app you are attempting to make use of could also be muted as a substitute. Be sure the music or video participant, or another app you are utilizing, is unmuted and turned up.


The identical goes for YouTube and different in-browser gamers—it is easy to mute them unintentionally, which might be irritating to diagnose later. Chrome customers, as an illustration, can click on the music word icon within the browser’s menu to manage audio enjoying from any tab.

Strive Some Headphones

headphones image

(Credit score: Zlata Ivleva)

If you happen to’re having bother together with your laptop computer’s built-in audio system, attempt connecting headphones or a set of audio system. If the sound works by them, you might need a {hardware} downside with the laptop computer’s built-in audio system.

You too can attempt connecting a pair of USB headphones (like a USB gaming headset) in case you have one thing like that helpful. These can bypass the default audio driver and point out the place the issue may lie, so it is value a shot.

Change Your Audio Gadget

windows sounds

It is doable your audio system are working simply high quality, however your pc is directing sound to the unsuitable output machine—that is particularly widespread in case you’ve plugged in a USB audio machine, or are plugged in to an exterior HDMI monitor that does not have audio system.


In Home windows 10, right-click the speaker icon within the taskbar and select Sounds. Choose the Playback tab and choose the machine you wish to use. If you happen to do not see it, attempt right-clicking and checking Present Disabled Gadgets. Choose the output machine you need and click on the Set Default button. In Home windows 11, go to Settings > System > Sound > All sound units and ensure the proper output machine is chosen.

macos sound settings

If you happen to’re a Mac consumer, go to System Preferences > Sound and choose the Output tab. Be sure the proper output machine is on the prime of the checklist. If it isn’t, choose the one you wish to use and ensure it seems above the road dividing the opposite choices.

Disable Audio Enhancements

sound properties

If you happen to’re having audio troubles, Microsoft recommends(Opens in a brand new window) disabling any audio enhancements that could be turned on. For these utilizing Home windows 11, head to Settings > System > Sound, then choose the present output machine and switch off issues like Improve audio and Spatial sound.

In Home windows 10, return to the identical Sound menu from the above part, and choose the audio machine you are attempting to make use of. Click on Properties and poke across the choices that seem. Be sure the proper supported codecs are checked, any enhancements are disabled, and that Unique Mode is unchecked within the Superior tab. Strive turning off any Spatial Sound enhancements as effectively.

After making modifications, attempt enjoying audio once more and see if any of these choices had been the reason for your troubles.


Set up or Replace Your Drivers

device manager

When unsure, if a chunk of PC {hardware} is not working, test the drivers.

Really useful by Our Editors

Click on the Begin Menu, kind “machine supervisor,” and press Enter to open the Management Panel. Scroll all the way down to Sound, Video and Sport Controllers and develop the menu to indicate all of the doable audio output units in your PC. If there is a yellow exclamation mark subsequent to any of them, that is an indication it’s possible you’ll must discover and set up its driver from the producer’s web site. If not, putting in the driving force is value a shot anyway.

You too can attempt uninstalling the driving force: right-click the one you are attempting to make use of—in my case, my laptop computer makes use of Realtek Audio—and select Uninstall Gadget. Reboot Home windows and it’ll try to re-install its generic drivers, which can deliver the audio system again to life.

Replace Your BIOS

uefi image

In uncommon cases, a {hardware} incompatibility, software program replace, or Home windows reinstallation may cause your sound to cease working, and it’s possible you’ll must tweak one thing within the BIOS. Reboot your pc and enter the BIOS/UEFI setup menu, often by urgent Delete, F2, or another key at startup.

First, be sure that your sound card is enabled within the BIOS, because it may have gotten disabled in some unspecified time in the future. If that does not assist, test what BIOS or UEFI model you are utilizing, and evaluate it to the most recent model in your laptop computer producer’s web site.


In case your producer has launched a brand new model not too long ago, it could be value updating. Simply remember to learn the directions and proceed fastidiously, as a BIOS replace also can break issues if achieved improperly.

Restore the Audio system

laptop speaker

(Credit score: Zlata Ivleva)

If you cannot appear to repair the issue in software program, there’s an opportunity the audio system themselves are damaged, or a cable has come unfastened inside your PC. If you could find a restore handbook to your PC, do not be afraid to crack it open and see what’s what.

You too can name within the professionals. Both ship it in to the producer for repairs if it is below guarantee, or discover a native store that may diagnose the issue for you. With a bit of luck, you may be jamming once more very quickly.

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Watch Linda Yaccarino’s wild interview at the Code Conference



Watch Linda Yaccarino’s wild interview at the Code Conference

On Wednesday evening, X CEO Linda Yaccarino appeared onstage at the Code Conference with frustration and protest. “I think many people in this room were not fully prepared for me to still come out on the stage,” she told interviewer Julia Boorstin, senior media and tech correspondent at CNBC.

Yaccarino sounded rattled. She’d found out earlier in the day that Kara Swisher, a Code Conference co-founder, had booked a surprise guest to appear an hour before her: Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety. He has been an outspoken critic of the direction Elon Musk has taken the site.

In his interview with Swisher, Roth recounted how Musk put him personally in danger. Musk suggested on Twitter that Roth had advocated for sexualizing children — a completely unfounded claim — which led to death threats and his address being posted online. “I had to sell my house. I had to move,” Roth said. He encouraged Yaccarino to think about how Musk could turn on her, too, and said the site was bleeding users and advertisers.

These criticisms are nothing new, but Yaccarino was visibly bothered by having to appear shortly after a well-known critic of her company. “I’d be happy to respond,” Yaccarino said. “I think I’ve been given about 45 minutes [of notice].” The conference’s 300-some-seat ballroom was packed for her appearance; I caught Swisher reclining on a couch in the back before things kicked off, waiting to see the results of her surprise play out.

“I work at X, he worked at Twitter.”


Throughout the interview, Yaccarino repeated that she’s only been on the job at X for 12 weeks, as if to say there’s only so much she could have done by now. But in that time, she’s managed to do one thing consistently: dismiss concerns about X, whether it’s the platform’s disinvestment in moderation or Musk’s chaotic leadership.

Her dismissive stance was very much on display Wednesday night. She wrote off Roth’s claims about the platform’s performance as outdated (“I work at X, he worked at Twitter,” she said); she said the Anti-Defamation League — which Musk is threatening to sue — pays too much attention to the antisemitism on X and not enough to the improvements the platform has made; and she argued that despite the panic around advertisers fleeing, most of the big ones are coming back.

These were not satisfying answers if you’re a person who thinks Musk is destroying Twitter or stoking harassment. But they were, for the most part, confident answers. Yaccarino answered slowly and carefully, and she seemed determined to push the complaints aside as collateral damage for reinventing the platform.

“X is a new company building a foundation based on free expression and freedom of speech,” she said at the start.

“We talk about everything.”


Boorstin prodded Yaccarino for hard numbers on how X is doing amid all these crises. Yaccarino said the company would be profitable “in early ’24.” The platform has 200–250 million daily active users. “Something like that,” Yaccarino said. She went to check her phone, as if to confirm the number but never finished checking. Later, she suggested that X has 540 million monthly active users and 225 million daily active users. (That would be slightly down from the 238 million daily users Twitter had before the acquisition.)

It was hard to know whether Yaccarino wasn’t prepared enough or if she simply didn’t want to give definitive answers. At one point, Boorstin asked about Musk’s recent statement that X will eventually charge all users to post on the platform, and Yaccarino appeared unable to speak to the proposed change.

“Can you repeat?” Yaccarino asked.

“Elon Musk announced you’re moving to an entirely subscription-based service,” Boorstin said. “Nothing free about using X.”

“Did he say we were moving to it specifically or is thinking about it?” Yaccarino asked.


“He said that’s the plan,” Boorstin said. “Did he consult you before he announced that?”

“We talk about everything,” Yaccarino said. She never clarified X’s plans.

The interview was filled with rocky moments like this, but Yaccarino didn’t run. As the clock ran out on the interview, Boorstin said she would let Yaccarino stay as long as she wanted — and Yaccarino took her up on it. Even when Yaccarino finally said she needed to leave, she stuck around for a few more questions. At close to 40 minutes, it was the longest interview of the conference.

It was a long conversation and a far more complicated one than Yaccarino may have wanted to have. At the top of the interview, she tried to push aside concerns about X with a statement of confidence. “It’s a new day at X, and I’ll leave it at that,” she said.

But it could never be that simple. As long as Musk is in the mix, she’ll always need more time to explain whatever’s going on at X.

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How to Run Your Own ChatGPT-Like LLM for Free (and in Private)



How to Run Your Own ChatGPT-Like LLM for Free (and in Private)

The power of large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, generally made possible by cloud computing, is obvious, but have you ever thought about running an AI chatbot on your own laptop or desktop? Depending on how modern your system is, you can likely run LLMs on your own hardware. But why would you want to?

Well, maybe you want to fine-tune a tool for your own data. Perhaps you want to keep your AI conversations private and offline. You may just want to see what AI models can do without the companies running cloud servers shutting down any conversation topics they deem unacceptable. With a ChatGPT-like LLM on your own hardware, all of these scenarios are possible.

And hardware is less of a hurdle than you might think. The latest LLMs are optimized to work with Nvidia graphics cards and with Macs using Apple M-series processors—even low-powered Raspberry Pi systems. And as new AI-focused hardware comes to market, like the integrated NPU of Intel’s “Meteor Lake” processors or AMD’s Ryzen AI, locally run chatbots will be more accessible than ever before.

Thanks to platforms like Hugging Face and communities like Reddit’s LocalLlaMA, the software models behind sensational tools like ChatGPT now have open-source equivalents—in fact, more than 200,000 different models are available at this writing. Plus, thanks to tools like Oobabooga’s Text Generation WebUI, you can access them in your browser using clean, simple interfaces similar to ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and Google Bard.

The software models behind sensational tools like ChatGPT now have open-source equivalents—in fact, more than 200,000 different models are available.


So, in short: Locally run AI tools are freely available, and anyone can use them. However, none of them is ready-made for non-technical users, and the category is new enough that you won’t find many easy-to-digest guides or instructions on how to download and run your own LLM. It’s also important to remember that a local LLM won’t be nearly as fast as a cloud-server platform because its resources are limited to your system alone.

Nevertheless, we’re here to help the curious with a step-by-step guide to setting up your own ChatGPT alternative on your own PC. Our guide uses a Windows machine, but the tools listed here are generally available for Mac and Linux systems as well, though some extra steps may be involved when using different operating systems.

Some Warnings About Running LLMs Locally

First, however, a few caveats—scratch that, a lot of caveats. As we said, these models are free, made available by the open-source community. They rely on a lot of other software, which is usually also free and open-source. That means everything is maintained by a hodgepodge of solo programmers and teams of volunteers, along with a few massive companies like Facebook and Microsoft. The point is that you’ll encounter a lot of moving parts, and if this is your first time working with open-source software, don’t expect it to be as simple as downloading an app on your phone. Instead, it’s more like installing a bunch of software before you can even think about downloading the final app you want—which then still may not work. And no matter how thorough and user-friendly we try to make this guide, you may run into obstacles that we can’t address in a single article.

Also, finding answers can be a real pain. The online communities devoted to these topics are usually helpful in solving problems. Often, someone’s solved the problem you’re encountering in a conversation you can find online with a little searching. But where is that conversation? It might be on Reddit, in an FAQ, on a GitHub page, in a user forum on HuggingFace, or somewhere else entirely. 

AI is quicksand. Everything moves whip-fast, and the environment undergoes massive shifts on a constant basis.


It’s worth repeating that open-source AI is moving fast. Every day new models are released, and the tools used to interact with them change almost as often, as do the underlying training methods and data, and all the software undergirding that. As a topic to write about or to dive into, AI is quicksand. Everything moves whip-fast, and the environment undergoes massive shifts on a constant basis. So much of the software discussed here may not last long before newer and better LLMs and clients are released.

Bottom line: Proceed at your own risk. There’s no Geek Squad to call for help with open-source software; it’s not all professionally maintained; and you’ll find no handy manual to read or customer service department to turn to—just a bunch of loosely organized online communities.

Finally, once you get it all running, these AI models have varying degrees of polish, but they all carry the same warnings: Don’t trust what they say at face value, because it’s often wrong. Never look to an AI chatbot to help make your health or financial decisions. The same goes for writing your school essays or your website articles. Also, if the AI says something offensive, try not to take it personally. It’s not a person passing judgment or spewing questionable opinions; it’s a statistical word generator made to spit out mostly legible sentences. If any of this sounds too scary or tedious, this may not be a project for you.

Select Your Hardware

Before you begin, you’ll need to know a few things about the machine on which you want to run an LLM. Is it a Windows PC, a Mac, or a Linux box? This guide, again, will focus on Windows, but most of the resources referenced offer additional options and instructions for other operating systems.

You also need to know whether your system has a discrete GPU or relies on its CPU’s integrated graphics. Plenty of open-source LLMs can run solely on your CPU and system memory, but most are made to leverage the processing power of a dedicated graphics chip and its extra video RAM. Gaming laptops, desktops, and workstations are better suited to these applications, since they have the powerful graphics hardware these models often rely on.


Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8

Gaming laptops and mobile workstations offer the best hardware for running LLMs at home. (Credit: Molly Flores)

In our case, we’re using a Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 gaming notebook, which combines a potent Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU, 32GB of system RAM, and a powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 mobile GPU with 12GB of dedicated VRAM.

If you’re on a Mac or Linux system, are CPU-dependent, or are using AMD instead of Intel hardware, be aware that while the general steps in this guide are correct, you may need extra steps and additional or different software to install. And the performance you see could be markedly different from what we discuss here.

Set Up Your Environment and Required Dependencies

To start, you must download some necessary software: Microsoft Visual Studio 2019. Any updated version of Visual Studio 2019 will work (though not newer annualized releases), but we recommend getting the latest version directly from Microsoft.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 download page

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)


Personal users will be fine to skip the Enterprise and Professional versions and use just the BuildTools version of the software.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 download page

Find the latest version of Visual Studio 2019 and download the BuildTools version (Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

After choosing that, be sure to select “Desktop Development with C++.” This step is essential in order for other pieces of software to work properly.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 download selection

Be sure to select “Desktop development with C++.” (Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

Begin your download and kick back: Depending on your internet connection, it could take several minutes before the software is ready to launch.


Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 download progress

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

Download Oobabooga’s Text Generation WebUI Installer

Next, you need to download the Text Generation WebUI tool from Oobabooga. (Yes, it’s a silly name, but the GitHub project makes an easy-to-install and easy-to-use interface for AI stuff, so don’t get hung up on the moniker.)

Text Generation WebUI tool from Oobabooga GitHub page

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

To download the tool, you can either navigate through the GitHub page or go directly to the collection of one-click installers Oobabooga has made available. We’ve installed the Windows version, but this is also where you’ll find installers for Linux and macOS. Download the zip file shown below.

One-click installer packages for Text Generation WebUI

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)


Create a new file folder someplace on your PC that you’ll remember and name it AI_Tools or something similar. Do not use any spaces in the folder name, since that will mess up some of the automated download and install processes of the installer.

Local folder for Text Generation WebUI files

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

Then, extract the contents of the zip file you just downloaded into your new AI_Tools folder.

Run the Text Generation WebUI Installer

Once the zip file has been extracted to your new folder, look through the contents. You should see several files, including one called start_windows.bat. Double-click it to begin installation.

Depending on your system settings, you might get a warning about Windows Defender or another security tool blocking this action, because it’s not from a recognized software vendor. (We haven’t experienced or seen anything reported online to indicate that there’s any problem with these files, but we’ll repeat that you do this at your own risk.) If you wish to proceed, select “More info” to confirm whether you want to run start_windows.bat. Click “Run Anyway” to continue the installation.


Installation warning

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

Now, the installer will open up a command prompt (CMD) and begin installing the dozens of software pieces necessary to run the Text Generation WebUI tool. If you’re unfamiliar with the command-line interface, just sit back and watch.

Installation CMD window

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

First, you’ll see a lot of text scroll by, followed by simple progress bars made up of hashtag or pound symbols, and then a text prompt will appear. It will ask you what your GPU is, giving you a chance to indicate whether you’re using Nvidia, AMD, or Apple M series silicon or just a CPU alone. You should already have figured this out before downloading anything. In our case, we select A, because our laptop has an Nvidia GPU.

Installation GPU check

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)


Once you’ve answered the question, the installer will handle the rest. You’ll see plenty of text scroll by, followed first by simple text progress bars and then by more graphically pleasing pink and green progress bars as the installer downloads and sets up everything it needs.

Text Generation WebUI installation progress

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

At the end of this process (which may take up to an hour), you’ll be greeted by a warning message surrounded by asterisks. This warning will tell you that you haven’t downloaded any large language model yet. That’s good news! It means that Text Generation WebUI is just about done installing.

Text Generation WebUI tool "no model" warning

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

At this point you’ll see some text in green that reads “Info: Loading the extension gallery.” Your installation is complete, but don’t close the command window yet.


Text Generation WebUI installer green text

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

Copy and Paste the Local Address for WebUI 

Immediately below the green text, you’ll see another line that says “Running on local URL: http://127.0.01:7860.” Just click that URL text, and it will open your web browser, serving up the Text Generation WebUI—your interface for all things LLM.

Text Generation WebUI installer green text and local URL

(Credit: Brian Westover/Microsoft)

You can save this URL somewhere or bookmark it in your browser. Even though Text Generation WebUI is accessed through your browser, it runs locally, so it’ll work even if your Wi-Fi is turned off. Everything in this web interface is local, and the data generated should be private to you and your machine.

Text Generation WebUI open in browser

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)


Close and Reopen WebUI

Once you’ve successfully accessed the WebUI to confirm it’s installed correctly, go ahead and close both the browser and your command window.

In your AI_Tools folder, open up the same start_windows batch file that we ran to install everything. It will reopen the CMD window but, instead of going through that whole installation process, will load up a small bit of text including the green text from before telling you that the extension gallery is loaded. That means the WebUI is ready to open again in your browser.

Text Generation WebUI open in browser

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

Use the same local URL you copied or bookmarked earlier, and you’ll be greeted once again by the WebUI interface. This is how you will open the tool in the future, leaving the CMD window open in the background.

Select and Download an LLM

Now that you have the WebUI installed and running, it’s time to find a model to load. As we said, you’ll find thousands of free LLMs you can download and use with WebUI, and the process of installing one is pretty straightforward.


If you want a curated list of the most recommended models, you can check out a community like Reddit’s /r/LocalLlaMA, which includes a community wiki page that lists several dozen models. It also includes information about what different models are built for, as well as data about which models are supported by different hardware. (Some LLMs specialize in coding tasks, while others are built for natural text chat.)

These lists will all end up sending you to Hugging Face, which has become a repository of LLMs and resources. If you came here from Reddit, you were probably directed straight to a model card, which is a dedicated information page about a specific downloadable model. These cards provide general information (like the datasets and training techniques that were used), a list of files to download, and a community page where people can leave feedback as well as request help and bug fixes.

At the top of each model card is a big, bold model name. In our case, we used the the WizardLM 7B Uncensored model made by Eric Hartford. He uses the screen name ehartford, so the model’s listed location is “ehartford/WizardLM-7B-Uncensored,” exactly how it’s listed at the top of the model card.

Next to the title is a little copy icon. Click it, and it will save the properly formatted model name to your clipboard.

Hugging Face LLM model card

(Credit: Brian Westover/Hugging Face)


Back in WebUI, go to the model tab and enter that model name into the field labeled “Download custom model or LoRA.” Paste in the model name, hit Download, and the software will start downloading the necessary files from Hugging Face.

Text Generation WebUI model download

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

If successful, you’ll see an orange progress bar pop up in the WebUI window and several progress bars will appear in the command window you left open in the background.

Text Generation WebUI model download progress

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

CMD window model download progress

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)


Once it’s finished (again, be patient), the WebUI progress bar will disappear and it will simply say “Done!” instead.

Load Your Model and Settings in WebUI

Once you’ve got a model downloaded, you need to load it up in WebUI. To do this, select it from the drop-down menu at the upper left of the model tab. (If you have multiple models downloaded, this is where you choose one to use.)

Before you can use the model, you need to allocate some system or graphics memory (or both) to running it. While you can tweak and fine-tune nearly anything you want in these models, including memory allocation, I’ve found that setting it at roughly two-thirds of both GPU and CPU memory works best. That leaves enough unused memory for your other PC functions while still giving the LLM enough memory to track and hold a longer conversation.

Text Generation WebUI model settings

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

Once you’ve allocated memory, hit the Save Settings button to save your choice, and it will default to that memory allocation every time. If you ever want to change it, you can simply reset it and press Save Settings again.


Enjoy Your LLM!

With your model loaded up and ready to go, it’s time to start chatting with your ChatGPT alternative. Navigate within WebUI to the Text Generation tab. Here you’ll see the actual text interface for chatting with the AI. Enter text into the box, hit Enter to send it, and wait for the bot to respond.

Text Generation WebUI with model running

(Credit: Brian Westover/Oobabooga)

Here, we’ll say again, is where you’ll experience a little disappointment: Unless you’re using a super-duper workstation with multiple high-end GPUs and massive amounts of memory, your local LLM won’t be anywhere near as quick as ChatGPT or Google Bard. The bot will spit out fragments of words (called tokens) one at a time, with a noticeable delay between each.

However, with a little patience, you can have full conversations with the model you’ve downloaded. You can ask it for information, play chat-based games, even give it one or more personalities. Plus, you can use the LLM with the assurance that your conversations and data are private, which gives peace of mind.

You’ll encounter a ton of content and concepts to explore while starting with local LLMs. As you use WebUI and different models more, you’ll learn more about how they work. If you don’t know your text from your tokens, or your GPTQ from a LoRA, these are ideal places to start immersing yourself in the world of machine learning.


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Steps to delete your personal information from the dark web



Steps to delete your personal information from the dark web

Have you ever wondered what to do if your identity is stolen and sold on the dark web? Many people face this scary situation every day, and they don’t know how to deal with it. That includes Mary of Upper Chichester, Pennsylvania.

“I have a major issue with my Motorola Android cell phone. Motorola’s tech department wasn’t helpful at all.

“I was alerted by Capital One that my identity was being sold on the dark web. I did contact all of the credit reporting agencies to notify them and place alerts on my credit report. That’s about all I have done so far. My issue is how do I remove my personal information from the dark web and is my phone now useless?

“Do I need to get a new phone or is there any easy way to secure my current phone?

Woman smiles at her Android (



“I’m worried about someone using my personal information to commit criminal acts using my identity. Please tell me the easiest way to rectify this scary situation. What should I do next?”

Mary, Upper Chichester, PA

Mary, I’m sorry to hear that your identity was being sold on the dark web. I’m glad you contacted the credit reporting agencies to alert them and place alerts on your credit report. That’s one of several smart moves to protect your credit from fraud. As for removing your personal information from the dark web, fortunately, there are several ways to approach this, which we’ll get into below.

What do I do if my data has been stolen?


Log out of all of your accounts: If you see that your information was part of any sort of breach, you should first log out of all your accounts on every web browser on your computer. Once you’ve done that, you should clear your cookies and cache.

Change your password: If your password was compromised, be sure to change it immediately. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords.


Remove yourself from the internet: While no service promises to remove all your data from the internet, having a removal service is great if you want to constantly monitor and automate the process of removing your information from hundreds of sites continuously. By doing so, it would significantly decrease the chances of a scammer being able to get you information to target you.

Hacker on a computer

Hackers looking a computer. (




Invest in Antivirus protection: The best way to protect yourself from accidentally clicking a malicious link that would allow hackers access to your personal information is to have antivirus protection installed and actively running on all your devices.

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

Do you need a new phone if your personal info is on the dark web?

As for your Android phone, you should be sure to do a malware scan and implement necessary security measures to prevent hackers from accessing it again. Here are some steps you can take to secure your Android phone from hackers:


Do a malware scan of your Android device. You should scan your phone with reputable antivirus protection, and remove any suspicious apps or files.

  • Phishing and malware are common tactics that hackers use to trick you into clicking on malicious links or attachments that can infect your Android phone with spyware or ransomware.
  • You should be careful about opening emails, texts, or messages from unknown senders or sources that look suspicious or too good to be true.
  • Avoid downloading apps from unofficial sources or websites that may contain malware.

Update your software: Make sure you have the latest version of Android and any apps you use on your phone. Software updates often fix security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. You can check for updates in your phone’s settings or in the Google Play Store. Learn how to update your Android or iPhone.

Use a strong password or PIN: Lock your phone with a password or PIN that is hard to guess or crack. You can also use biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or face recognition, if your phone supports it. You should also change your passwords and log out of any accounts that may have been compromised.

Enable two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring you to enter a code or use an app to verify your identity when you log in. You can enable 2FA on services that offer it, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You should also use a different device to receive the codes or use an authentication app like the ones described here.


Password protection service (


Kurt’s key takeaways


Mary’s story sheds light on the reality many face grappling with the nightmare of identity theft and the dark web. Quick action is key, like notifying credit agencies if you discover your info is being used or has been stolen.

Remember, once on the dark web, your personal info isn’t easily erased, but you can take these steps to start removing it all. So, when it comes to your phone, securing it with updates, antivirus software, strong passwords, and cautious behavior can and will help thwart potential hackers.

Safeguarding your identity is a constant battle. However, it’s just a reality of where we are today. So, staying proactive is your best armor.

What frustrates you most about having to always be on guard when it comes to your tech and security? Do you wish our government did more to find those responsible for perpetuating the dark web and its crimes? Let us know by writing us at

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to


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