Some Windows 10 warnings are wrong

Q: I sometimes get this warning message on my Windows 10 laptop: "Microsoft account problem. We need to fix your Microsoft account (most likely your password changed). Select here to fix it in Shared Experiences settings." To be safe, I close the message box without taking any action. My wife never sees this message on her Windows 7 PC. What's wrong? And are your earlier columns available online?

—Stan Burnett, Winter Haven, Fla.

A: There's really nothing wrong. The message is being displayed because of a technical glitch in Windows 10. That's why your wife doesn't see it on her Windows 7 PC.

The message supposedly signifies that your PC isn’t syncing correctly with your online Microsoft account because of a password change. It refers you to the “Shared Experiences” settings that use your Microsoft account to share data between your PC and other devices, such as a smartphone.

Note that you can get this erroneous warning even if you haven’t changed your Microsoft account password, don’t have any problems logging in to your account and don’t share PC data with other gadgets.

One way to get rid of the error message is to turn off Shared Experiences, which stops Windows 10 from trying to sync itself with your Microsoft account (see

If you want to try fixing the problem, follow Microsoft's instructions (see and scroll down to "Method 1.")

To find my recent columns, go to and search for "Steve Alexander." The columns are in the resulting list, beginning with the most recent. New columns appear there on Tuesdays.

Q: I recently bought an iPhone 8, and now my contacts and calendars won't sync with my Windows 10 PC that uses Microsoft Office 2013. I can't seem to connect my PC to Apple's iCloud service, which handles the syncing. What can I do?

—August Aquila, Minnetonka, Minn.

A: You can change some PC and iPhone settings to fix the problem.

First, make sure you've got the latest version of iCloud for Windows (see, then see whether your phone and PC are set to the same date and time.

Next, make sure that your iPhone and PC are both using the same Apple ID to log into iCloud, and that both devices are set to update contacts and calendars (see "Try these steps first" at

If all the settings are correct, scroll down the same web page to the instructions for using Windows with iCloud. You’ll first turn off syncing, then turn it on again. Then follow the directions (for Microsoft Outlook 2010 and newer) to make sure you have the “iCloud Outlook Add-in” installed and active.

Q: I think I’ve got a malicious key logger program (which copies keystrokes and forwards them to someone on the internet) on my PC. How can I detect and eliminate it?

—Mike Frisch, Minneapolis

A: Download and run the free version of Malwarebytes (see Then make sure your antivirus software is up to date.



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.