Use Google DNS

Ostensibly for the safety of its customers, the Internet provider TalkTalk blocks remote support services like LogMeIn and TeamViewer because they can be used by scammers to take control of your computer, if you let them. But this hampers legitimate users—including technicians like me, for whom screen sharing is a great way to provide help sooner, reduce carbon emissions, and help people outside my area.

TalkTalk calls it Scam Protection and the only way to turn it off is to call them on 0345 172 0088. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may wait longer to be connected, or be deterred by the recorded message saying they’ll help with critical issues only.

Luckily, the block is implemented in something called the Domain Name System (DNS). This shallow depth makes it easy to circumvent by setting your computer to use an alternative DNS provider like Google. This doesn’t decrease the security of your device, and may even make using the Internet faster; many enthusiasts already prefer Google’s DNS over that of their broadband provider. But you can easily revert the change if you need to.

Windows

  1. Right-click the Start button, bottom left of the screen
  2. Choose Run
  3. Type ncpa.cpl and click OK
  4. Identify your network connection – either wireless (Wi-Fi), or Ethernet if you use a cable – right-click it, and choose Properties
  5. Double-click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
  6. Select Use the following DNS server addresses
  7. In the box for Preferred DNS server, type 8.8.8.8
  8. In the box for Alternative DNS server, type 8.8.4.4
  9. Click OK, then OK again

macOS

  1. Click Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Click Network
  3. On the left, select your connection – most likely Wi-Fi, but possibly Ethernet – it will show a green dot
  4. Click Advanced
  5. Click the DNS tab
  6. Beneath the DNS Servers box, click the plus (+) button
  7. Type 8.8.8.8 and press Return
  8. Click plus (+) again, type 8.8.4.4 and press Return
  9. Click OK followed by Apply