[AI] Q & A
ilovecold at gmail.com
Mon Apr 12 03:58:58 EDT 2010
Q. My Maxtor external drive is 25 percent full. I've used it without any
problems for scheduled backups and for storing content from previous computers,
photos and music for a year or so. Now each backup attempt fails. If I test
the drive, it reports it's working correctly. I've tried to check for errors
and ticked 'automatically fix file system errors', but I get a message that
'Windows can't check the disk while it's in use'. I've tried ticking the option
to 'Schedule disk check', but nothing happens. Anselm Bassano
Windows should be able to run a disk check on a USB hard drive when attached to
the computer. However, the schedule disk check option works only when the
computer reboots, before it has time to load the necessary drivers to recognise
Run a disk check within Windows to ensure no software or processes are accessing
the drive at the time - antivirus, Windows Search (or any third-party search
utilities), backup utilities and so on.
You should turn these off by using their interface or the Task Manager
(right-click the Taskbar and choose Task Manager, Processes). In the case of
your antivirus software, stop it (temporarily, of course) from scanning the
drive in question. If you can't stop it from scanning the drive, look for any
processes with the name of your antivirus software, right-click them and choose
End Task. You should then be able to run a disk check without scheduling it.
NEW MAPS FOR OLD
Q. I'm having a problem when I try to upgrade a mapping program called Anquet
on my Vista PC. I downloaded the newer version but had trouble with it, so I
uninstalled it and tried to reinstate my former installation. I received an
error message informing me that it couldn't install because a newer version is
I've deleted any files left over in the Program Files folder and have searched
the Registry and deleted any references to Anquet. I still get the same error
message. Tech support have suggested reinstalling Windows, which I'd rather not
do. Can you help? Brian North
Completely restoring your computer should always be the last resort, although
sometimes it's necessary. Use a Registry cleaner such as CCleaner (
ccleaner.com) to ensure that all traces of Anquet are removed from your system -
this will remove even the entries that may not be tagged as belonging to Anquet.
Run the CCleaner disk clean-up wizard, then the Registry cleaner.
Next, reboot your machine and try to install the software again. CCleaner will
hopefully have found the redundant and erroneous entries preventing you from
installing Anquet. If not, you can also try searching your user profile for any
Anquet folders which may be lurking there.
Click Start, My Computer and double-click the icon for your C drive. Locate the
Users folder and open it, then browse to and open the folder relating to your
Type Anquet in the search box and press Return. Delete any files it may come up
with (but back them up first), reboot and try installing Anquet again.
If it still doesn't work, try running Anquet on a virtual machine such as on
Microsoft's free Virtual PC ( tinyurl.com/287fx8). You'll need a licensed
version of Windows to use this. If you are unable to do this, you may need to
resort to a full system restoration using your recovery discs (see Helpline).
PASSWORD PESTER POWER
Q. I'm using Outlook 2002. Every time I try to send and receive mail I'm asked
for my network password, despite having ticked the box to remember it. Any
suggestions? Ken Pinder
There could be several reasons for this, Ken. A full inbox is often to blame.
Try clearing out your inbox and see whether the message disappears.
Other possible reasons for the message appearing include a corrupt Outlook
profile, incorrect Outlook or Registry settings and possible conflicts with your
antivirus software. First check some simple Outlook settings. Go to Tools,
Email Accounts, select your account and ensure the 'Remember my password' box is
Now click More Settings, Outgoing Server, Choose, 'My outgoing server (SMTP)
requires authentication' and choose 'Use same settings as my incoming server'.
If none of the above sorts out the problem, there are further options listed at
Microsoft's website ( tinyurl.com/y9o9p4).
Q. When I try to clear out the URLs of previously visited sites, either through
Tools, Internet Options or by using McAfee, a few URLs remain and I can't get
rid of them. What can I do? Anthony Ellis
Try running a dedicated cleaning utility such as CCleaner (ccleaner.com) to
remove your browser cache, history and cookies. If the links still remain, try
this little trick: click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter. If you're
using Vista, type regedit directly into the Search box. Navigate to
Hkey_Current_ User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ Typed URLs and delete
all the keys that list the URLs you don't want. Be sure to back up the Registry
Q. For the past few months Automatic Updates have stopped working on my XP
Professional machine. I went to the Windows Update site to check for updates,
and received a message that the files required to use the service are no longer
registered or installed on my computer. When I clicked to register or reinstall
the files, the process appeared to register 100 percent, after which the error
code 0x8007041D (or 0x80080005 in Windows Defender) appeared. I've scanned for
malware and have been manually installing security updates. Is there a less
laborious solution? John Christie
Update problems are always irritating, particularly if you've had a virus and
your antivirus software removes Windows components that have become infected.
First, ensure that all your Windows Update files (and the installer files
themselves) are removed from your system. This way you'll know you only have
the latest, uncorrupted versions.
Right-click My Computer and select Manage. Expand Services and Applications and
select Services. Now right-click Automatic Updates and click Stop.
Navigate to your Windows system folder (C:\Windows) and delete the
SoftwareDistribution folder located there.
Reboot, then run Windows Update again to download the correct files in their
To fix Windows Defender, uninstall it using Add\Remove Programs. Restart the PC
again then locate Windows Defender in C:\Program Files and delete it. Finally,
visit the Windows Defender home page ( tinyurl.com/5q36co) and download and
install the latest version.
DRIVING ME CRAZY
Q. I've been given a six-year-old Windows XP PC that I plan to pass on to a
friend. It hangs during bootup and will boot only into Safe mode. From the
Device Manager I see that the Microsoft System Management Driver ver.5.1
2600.2180 is missing or corrupt.
I'm unable to connect this PC to the web to install this driver, and it's
impossible to download it to another machine since the CD drive is read-only and
the USB ports don't work in Safe mode. I'd prefer not to reinstall Windows
because there is 4GB of files on the PC that I'd like to recover. M Pugh
This error can occur if a service pack installation goes awry and the driver
isn't installed or is corrupted.
First, try to roll back the driver to an earlier, working version. Right-click
My Computer, click Manage, Device Manager and expand System Devices. Look for
the Microsoft System Management Bios Driver entry, then right-click it and
select Properties. Click the Driver tab and choose 'Roll back driver'.
This should replace the corrupted version with one that works and allow the
machine to boot up correctly.
Another option is to try reinstalling Windows over the top of its existing
installation. Boot from the XP disc and enter the install Widows wizard, but
continue only if the setup invites you to repair Windows (rather than enter
Yet another option - assuming you can get online or on to a network - is to
press F8 to enter Safe mode with networking. From here, you can extract the
files you need to a safe place, such as an online file store or a locally
networked computer. Check you have all the files you need and then restore the
computer to its factory state by reinstalling Windows.
Finally, you could buy an external USB hard drive caddy and use it to transfer
the information you require to another PC.
Try adrive.com and mozy.com for a quick signup and access.
Q. About two months ago the DVD drive disappeared from my 18-month-old Vista
Home Premium laptop and couldn't be found in Device Manager. Tech support
advised me to delete the filters (they weren't there), update the drivers and
reset the Bios.
The last resort was to reset the laptop to its factory settings but, since the
webcam had by then also disappeared, I backed up the machine and reset it.
Neither problem was resolved and the manufacturer now says it must be a hardware
problem. Wendy Chappell
There is a recognised fault within Windows whereby a DVD drive can 'disappear'
and become a CD drive, but this doesn't sound like the problem you have. As the
components themselves are being listed as not present, it suggests something
more serious - possibly physical damage to the motherboard or failure of
critical components. If your laptop is still under warranty, contact the
manufacturer immediately to get it fixed.
SEARCH FOR A PERFECT MATCH
Q. I use my PC mainly for photo editing in Photoshop Elements 6.0, but I can
never get my photos to print the same as they look onscreen. I've tried
adjusting my 17 inches (1024x768) HP monitor so the colours look like a printed
photo, but this doesn't seem to help. Should I replace my PC or is there a
better option? Stephen Crossan
You need to calibrate your monitor correctly, Stephen. This will ensure your
screen accurately represents colours as they would be seen in the real world.
You can get specialist software to assist you, but the easiest option is to use
Windows' built-in colour-calibration utility.
In Windows XP, go to Start, Control Panel, Display, Settings, Advanced, Colour
Management. In Windows Vista, go to Start, Control Panel, Colour Management.
Use the wizard to calibrate your screen. You should see an improvement in how
your printed photos match with the originals.
Rather than buying a new PC, investing in a new monitor could be a good idea.
Your current 17 inches display has a limited resolution of 1024x768, whereas
about ukp130 will buy you a decent 22 inches LCD display on which photo-editing
will be far more rewarding.
Upgrading the graphics card to a Radeon HD 3650 card (ukp44 inc VAT, dabs.com)
will also help. The ATI drivers include a colour-calibration utility to help
you get your display to better represent the colours you're trying to print.
ROUTE TO SUCCESS
Q. I've networked my home using CAT5e cables and plugs; I've got four CAT5e
outlets in various rooms. I'm undecided on which router to use, but it needs to
work with current ADSL broadband setup and, ideally, should also be compatible
with cable broadband in case I decide to switch. Is there a router that's able
to use both ADSL and cable, and am I better off with a wired or wireless router?
Given your new network setup, it makes sense to replace the standard broadband
modem supplied by your ISP with a more robust and capable one. It's possible to
buy a combined ADSL/cable one, but these can often cost ukp200 or more. It may
prove better value to buy a solid ADSL model for now and replace it with a cable
one should you need this service in the future.
Note that cable routers don't directly connect to the cable feed, but take the
RJ45 network cable from your supplied cable modem into the router's WAN port.
If the cable you've installed is CAT5e, you should be able to achieve speeds of
1 gigabit per second (Gbps) across your local area network - provided that your
router or switch also supports that speed. With wireless, go for the 802.11n
standard, where you may be able to achieve speeds of up to 600 megabits per
second (Mbps). We reviewed several in our Dec 09 issue (page 62), or you can
find them online at tinyurl.com/yhqtdcm.
Specs to look out for include a firewall, ADSL connectivity, 802.11n
compatibility, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), virtual private
network for remote access and enough LAN ports to connect it to the rest of your
house. You can connect a cheap switch to expand the router's built-in four-port
switch if you need more ports.
DRAWING A BLANK?
Q. I bought some DVDs to use on my laptop's Slimtype DVD A DS8A1H ATA DVD
+/-RW/R drive. I assumed this could take both + and - media, but while burning
my first recovery disc using DVD-R media I received the message: 'Error detected
during disc verification'. Does this mean that it doesn't support DVD-R media
or is there another problem? Geoff Charlton
There are several reasons why this may occur. The DVD drive description
suggests it should work with both + and - discs. If you've bought cheap media,
try switching brand - not all blank discs are manufactured to the same standard.
Secondly, your DVD drive firmware may need updating to enable it to recognise
and work with newer disc types.
The speed at which the drive is trying to record could also be an issue. If you
can find a way to manually decrease the write speed, you're more likely to get
Finally, your drive may prefer DVD+ media to DVD-. It sounds strange, but we've
come across this situation on more than one occasion. Try a couple of DVD+
discs to see whether it burns these without complaint.
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