[AI] Q AND A

Sanjay ilovecold at gmail.com
Sun Apr 18 10:53:18 EDT 2010


SMALL-SCREEN DRAMA 

Q At startup my laptop displays the minimum screen resolution.  I can correct
this via the Control Panel, but I have to go through the same routine after
every restart.  Is there a way to force the machine to remember my preferred
settings?  Gerry Watson

Either the graphics driver isn't properly installed, or Windows doesn't know
what type of display it's outputting to and isn't setting the resolution
correctly.

To check whether your laptop has the correct display drivers installed,
right-click anywhere on your desktop and choose Properties in XP or Screen
Resolution Advanced in Vista and Windows 7.  You should see your graphics
adaptor listed by name.  Note its details, then download and install the latest
drivers for your adaptor from the manufacturer's website.

If this doesn't sort out the problem, check whether your laptop manufacturer
has a display driver listed on its support website for your model.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST 

Q I've got four PCs with antivirus programs installed, and would like to know
whether adding Ashampoo Antivirus to the arsenal would cause a conflict.  Also,
when I try to install Firefox on my netbook the Wi-Fi stops working.  Why is
this?  SL Banerjee

You should only ever install one antivirus program on a system.  Each
application will interpret the scanning behaviour of the other programs as the
behaviour of a virus, leading to an increase in false alerts.

Firefox shouldn't be causing problems for your wireless connection - try
updating your wireless drivers.  If the problem persists, it may be an indicator
of a problem elsewhere.  Use the Event Viewer (go to Control Panel,
Administrative Tools, Event Viewer) to check for any reported errors.

STALLED UPDATES 

Q My PC runs Windows Vista Home Premium Service Pack (SP) 1.  When I try to
install SP2 from Windows Update or from disc, I receive the following error
message: 'rpc_s_call failed 0X800806be'.  My computer is otherwise working
without any apparent problems.  Jack Barrett

I believe the error code should actually be 0x800706be, Jack.  This refers to a
series of problems related to Windows Update and the Update Agent.  You'll
need to update the Windows Update Agent to the latest version.  For 32bit
editions of XP and Vista you can do so from tinyurl.com/2thc5r; 64bit users
should go to tinyurl.com/3ccjom.

Disable your antivirus program's scanning module and install the Update Agent.
Now enable the antivirus and reboot.  You should then be able to apply the
service pack without any problems.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST, PART II 

Q My brand-new laptop runs Windows Vista and came with Avast Antivirus and PC
Tools ThreatFire preinstalled.

I want to install Avira AntiVir but receive error messages when I try to do so.
Kevin Stephenson

As we advise in Conflict of interest (left), you should never install two
antivirus programs on one machine.  You can remove Avast via Add/Remove Programs
if you'd prefer to use Avira, but you don't need both.

WEBCAM WOES 

Q My PC came with a webcam, but it doesn't work the way I expected.  The
vendor has advised me to use Windows Messenger with it.  TS Neame

It isn't uncommon for webcams to come without a dedicated utility, given that
they're primarily designed to work with communication software, such as
Windows Messenger and Skype.  If you sign up for a free account with either of
these services then you should be able to use your webcam without needing to
actually call anyone.

PHOTO FREEZE 

Q My system regularly locks up when I send attachments in Windows Mail or Google
Mail or upload images to Facebook; I have to reboot the PC to clear the screen.
Tech support have advised reinstalling Windows.  What do you think?  Colin
Dunwell

Perhaps you're trying to send very large files, Colin, in which case you
should first compress or reduce them in size.  WinZip ( winzip.com) is a useful
compression utility, while most free and low-cost photo editors have an
image-resizing facility.

You should also run a disk check in case there are errors on your system.  Go to
Start, Computer and right-click your drive.  Select Properties, Tools, Error
Checking and click Check Now.  Ensure 'Automatically fix errors' is ticked
and then hit Start.  Reboot the machine when prompted.

Download and install any required Windows service packs and patches via Windows
Update.  Also ensure that any essential plug-ins are installed and up to date.
The two most important for web-based applications are Java ( java.com) and Adobe
Flash Player ( adobe.com).

Another fix is to try using another email client, such as Thunderbird (
mozilla.com).

If none of these solutions works then I'm afraid you'll need to reinstall
your system using the recovery discs.

NAME CHANGE 

Q In What's in a name?  you said that using the text
string $N in an Irfanview slideshow would cause it to display the filename of my
photos onscreen.  While this does work, it does so only in a black band above
the photo or to the right of it.

I would rather put the filename on each photo as a permanent caption.  Is this
possible?  David Davies

You can indeed do this in Irfanview ( irfanview.com), David.  Go to File, Batch
Conversion/Rename, Batch conversion settings.  Tick 'Use advanced options',
click Advanced and then tick 'Add overlay text'.  Click Settings, Append
date and Append time as required.  You should also note the 'Text is
transparent' box if you want to adjust the font colour and size.

CAN'T SLEEP 

Q My Shuttle PC runs Windows Vista Home Premium and is kept up to speed via
Windows Update.  It doesn't appear to enter Hibernate or Sleep mode correctly,
waking itself up within seconds.  All the mains-connected devices shut down with
the PC using an energy-saving plug, and only the wireless mouse and keyboard
remain active.  David Haynes

Your PC could need a Bios update, David.  You can get one from uk.shuttle.com.
Alternatively, it may be seeing your keyboard and mouse as USB 'wake up'
devices.  Fix this by right-clicking Computer, Manage, Device Manager and
expanding Universal Serial Bus controllers.  Locate USB Root Hubs, double-click
the first one, click the Power Management tab and ensure the box 'Allow this
device to wake the computer' isn't ticked.  Repeat for each root hub.

Note that if you use the keyboard to wake up your computer you shouldn't
prevent its USB root hub from waking up your computer.  Find out which hub is
for which device using a system of trial and error.

The network interface card (or NIC), if connected, is also set to wake up your
computer when activity is detected.  Check in your Bios and the Device Manager
for any wake-up options.

Follow the steps above to access the Device Manager and locate your network
adaptor.  Double-click this, choose the Power Management tab and untick 'Allow
this device to wake the computer'.

FORMAT WARS 

Q I backed up my music collection to both a USB drive and a Sony MP3 player
before reinstalling Windows.  The operating system now fails to recognise those
files, as does the Sonic Stage software that came with my MP3 player.  What's
wrong?  Cindy

It sounds like either the audio files have got corrupted or the thumb drive is
having problems.  Run a file check to be sure.

Find the USB drive in Computer, then right-click it and choose Properties,
Tools, Error Checking, Check Now.  Tick the box for 'Automatically fix file
system errors' and click Start.  If the file check finds no errors, or fixes
errors but you still can't access the files, it may be that they're corrupt.

If it's a fairly old MP3 player with limited compatibility with Windows (hence
the need to use Sonic Stage to access its contents), there's little we can do
to check whether it's failing.  Try running a disk check if its icon appears
in Computer.

In the end, though, I'm afraid you may have to rebuild your digital music
library from scratch.  This time, stick to the MP3 format as it will ensure that
your music will be available to any other MP3 devices you purchase in the
future.

CAN'T BANK ON IT 

Q I have the same problem with logging into Lloyds TSB internet banking on a
Vista Home Premium laptop. 
I've tried using both Internet Explorer and Firefox, and switched off
my firewall and antivirus program - all to no avail.  The bank has been unable
to help, simply suggesting that it's a common problem.  Jim Jones

Two months ago we suggested using CCleaner ( ccleaner.com) to clean out the web
cache and updating your version of Java.  If that didn't do the trick, you
should try uninstalling Java and then installing a fresh copy.  Unfortunately,
this is all the advice we are able to give; it may be that you need to wait for
Lloyds TSB to update the service or come up with a solution.

MUSICAL BACKUP 

Q I've spent hours transferring music to my iPod, creating playlists and so
on.  I don't want to ever do so again.  Is there a program that I can use to
back up the player's contents to an external drive and then transfer it back
should disaster strike?  I run Ubuntu 9.04 and Windows XP.  Chris Burmajster

You can indeed.  Windows users can download any of the free utilities offered at
tinyurl.com/ygadksc; a paid-for app is also available in the form of Media
Widget ( tinyurl.com/okykob).  To do so in Ubuntu, visit tinyurl.com/5 grams
u672 for advice.

LOCKED OUT 

Q I've been given a Windows XP PC, but not the password I need to log into it.
I've got the product code and two discs: a copy of XP Pro and a Dell XP Home
CD.  Can I use any of these to restore Windows?  Malcolm McDowell

Yes, you can.  Use the XP Home disc supplied by Dell to restore the system in
its entirety with all the correct drivers in place.  This will also give you a
clean machine that performs better than one that's bogged down with old
software and files that you don't need.

BAND ON THE RUN 

Q My XP PC has developed a 3 inches-deep, almost opaque band at the bottom of
the screen.  Derek Chapman

This may be a bad sign.  If the screen is a few years old, it's likely to
indicate that the display or graphics adaptor is failing.  The easiest way to
check whether your monitor is at fault is to take your PC to a friend's house
and try it with their screen.  If you get the same problem with their monitor,
try installing the latest drivers for your graphics card.  If the problem
persists, you'll have to buy a new graphics card.

If your monitor is the problem, you may have to buy a new one.  But first try
replacing the cable to see whether that's faulty, and check the ends for bent
or damaged pins.

BUM NOTES 

Q I'm having trouble downloading iTunes 9.0 in Windows 7.  When I run a
download error program I'm told there are 268 errors.  Clive Nixon

Check for corrupt downloads stuck in your browser cache.  Use CCleaner (
cleaner.com) to clean out your temporary internet files.  If you're using the
release candidate version of Windows 7, the iTunes installation issue may be
caused by bugs in the Windows code.  Try upgrading to the full version of
Windows 7.

LAYERING UP 

Q I downloaded PC Tools Internet Security 2009 from your cover DVD.  The
Anti-Spam module is flagged up as being switched off, and the program won't
respond to my attempts to enable it.  Rick Conway

PC Tools told us that the suite relies on a Layered Service Provider feature
(see tinyurl.com/5oe2pk for more detailed information).  These are plug-ins that
redirect network traffic and ports within the Windows TCP\IP stack.  In all
likelihood, one of these is preventing the antispam element from functioning.
Try downloading the latest version from tinyurl.com/2wdx3h.

If this doesn't solve your problem, contact PC Tools via their support site at
tinyurl.com/ylfsubq.

SCREEN SAVER 

Q My four-month-old monitor has developed a red line that runs from top to
bottom on the righthand side of the screen.  This is now happening almost
immediately after startup, but will disappear after a little while.

I returned it to the shop since it was still under warranty, but the staff
couldn't find a fault when it was run with two of their machines.  They
suggested that it may be the fault of my graphics card, an Intel GMA.  Please
could you provide some assistance?  David Bamford

The monitor is faulty and needs replacing.  The fact you weren't able to take
a screen print to show me what you were seeing is a tell-tale indicator, I'm
afraid.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS 

Q I want to install Ashampoo Burning Studio from your Dec 09 cover DVD.
However, I get an error message telling me that I must be an administrator
before I can install the software.  How do I go about becoming an administrator?
MRR Gibson

Go to Control Panel, User Accounts and highlight your user account.  Click
'Change my account type', tick Computer Administrator and Change Account
Type if you're running Vista.  Now reboot.

If this doesn't work, right-click the disc in Computer and choose Explore.
Find the setup file, right-click it and choose 'Run as administrator' to
begin the installation process with the correct admin rights.



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