Tech Q&A: Stop phantom message tones on an Android phone

Question: When my car and my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone connect via Bluetooth, the phone’s notification alert tone goes off every 15 seconds. But when I check the phone, there are no notification messages. What can I do? — D.E., Eden Prairie, Minn.

Answer: The problem is probably a misbehaving app or an error in the phone’s sound software. Try these methods to fix it:

See if the problem lies with an app. One method is to click Apps, then Settings then “Notifications.” You will see a list of your phone’s apps, each with an on-off switch. Turn them off one at a time to see if the unwanted tone goes away. Another method is to put the phone in “safe mode” (see If the problem disappears in safe mode, then an app that you have added to the phone is at fault. You will need to uninstall your acquired apps one at a time to find the culprit.See if the problem is caused by the phone’s sound software. Click Apps, then Settings, then “Sounds and vibration.” Turn off these options one by one to see if the recurring tone disappears: “Touch sounds” (caused by touching the screen), “Screen lock sounds,” “Emergency tone” and “Charging sound” (caused by attaching a charger).If neither approach works, try deleting the data files in the phone’s “cache partition” (see These temporary files might have been corrupted during an app installation or a phone software update. Erasing them won’t affect your personal phone data.As a last resort, do a “factory reset” on the phone (see, which returns it to its original settings and content. This reset will delete your personal data, so back it up first.

Question: When I use Microsoft 365, the online version of Microsoft Office, the spell-check feature in Word doesn’t work with existing documents, but does work with new ones. What can I do? — L.B., St. Paul

Answer: Microsoft 365’s Word complaint log hasn’t listed this issue (see, so I suspect there’s a problem with the Word program on your PC.

The most likely cause is a change in Word’s many settings, several of which affect editing functions (see and Even if you didn’t make any changes, a software update to Word could have altered the settings.

Question: My PC thinks I’m in Brazil, even though Windows 10 and my browser are set to United States and English. What’s wrong? — J.H., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Answer: You have probably adjusted the Windows “Time & Language” settings, which include a “Region” setting. These settings determine how the PC displays times and dates, but they don’t establish where you are.

To tell Windows where you’re located, click Settings, then Privacy, then Location. Then click “default location” and type in your city. You should also clear your web browser’s cache memory, which could contain incorrect location data.