Business Columns & Blogs

Using internet accounts on your Mac

Q: I am getting a pop-up message claiming to be from Google and asking for my password. It says “Google Password Required. Enter your password for [account name] in Internet Accounts.” It won’t go away, even if I restart my Mac. Is this malware?

A: If you get Gmail through the Mac’s Mail app and the program is having a problem, the Internet Accounts box from the System Preferences often pops up to ask for the password in order to reconnect the Mail program with the Gmail server. You may also see the Internet Accounts box if you have a Google Play, YouTube or other Google service linked to your Mac. Click the System Preferences icon in the Mac’s desktop dock and then click the Internet Accounts icon to go directly to the settings.

Google recently confirmed that a technical issue caused some users to get booted out of their Google Accounts. Signing back in with your password should fix the problem.

If you are concerned about your Mac’s security, log into your Gmail account on another computer or device to make sure your password still works. (This would also be a good time to update and change your Google password: After you log into Gmail, go to for the password settings and to configure two-step verification.) If you have recently changed your Gmail password through a web browser and did not update the Mac’s Mail program, you may also see alert boxes asking for the password. If you previously set up application-specific passwords, you may have to update the Mail program with that app password.

Malicious software can be very good at impersonating legitimate messages from the operating system, browser, mail program and other applications – and despite some protections, Macs are not invulnerable. Free utilities like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac or Avast Free Mac Security can scan your system, as can commercial security suites like those from Intego or Norton.

Getting Windows 10 to run older programs

Q: I have an old laptop running Windows 7 with a couple of older programs that I regularly use that do not seem to be available for Windows 10. If I got a new Windows 10 laptop, could I run those programs.

A: While Microsoft has said that many programs written for earlier versions of Windows will work on Windows 10, you might want to check with the developers of those older programs to see if there are any known issues. Some software developers have provided compatibility information to the Ready for Windows Database on the Windows Dev Center site for information technology managers, but not every program out there is listed.

If you cannot verify that your older programs will work on Windows 10, you may want to consider keeping the older Windows 7 laptop around to run those applications when you need them – or until you find Windows 10-friendly alternatives that suit you. But if it looks as if the programs will work, the next step is to get them on the new Windows 10 laptop.

You will have to either install the older programs on the Windows 10 computer from the original installation media, or move the installed versions of your applications with transfer software. The old Windows Easy Transfer software included with previous versions of the operating system is no longer available, but third-party programs like Laplink’s PCmover line or one of the EaseUS ToDo PCTrans editions can move settings, files and even applications, depending on the version you buy.

Windows 10 includes a Program Compatibility Troubleshooter tool that you can use to cajole certain older applications into running on the new system. To use it, go to the Start menu, type “run programs” in the Search box, select “Select Run programs made for previous versions of Windows” from the results list and follow along.