FAQS! FACTS! FAX!

 BootLog.co.uk

 

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DECEMBER 05

31/12/05 - 01/01/06

PLAYSTATION PORTABLE AND WINDOWS 98

Hi Rick, Santa Claus has been very generous this year and so my son has acquired a shiny new PSP for Christmas. I got my present earlier this year in the shape of a new Windows XP PC after many years of enduring a PC running W98SE. As a result the old machine has now been passed down to same son, as I like him to keep all his music files, etc away from my hard drive. The problem is that to connect his PSP to the W98SE machine using a mini USB cable means that a suitable driver is required and W98SE does not seem to be able to come up with the goods and so, unlike WXP, will not recognise it as a drive. A Google search surprisingly seems to give very little joy on the matter. Is a suitable driver available somewhere?

Mark Pickard

 

A. I can’t say I am surprised. It’s the hardware manufacturer’s responsibility -- i.e. Sony -- to develop drivers for Windows and I can’t really see them expending much too effort creating one for an obsolete operating system. Yes, I know zillions of people still use Windows 9x (me included) but this system is now over 8 years old and well past its sell by date. Of course it’s always possible that someone will come up with a third-party driver or a fix, I wasn’t able to find anything, or any suggestion that’s there’s even much of a demand so I wouldn’t hold your breath… (Nevertheless, If anyone has a solution then please let me know so I can pass it on to Mark).

 

All is not lost, however, and if you connect the two PC’s together using a network then it should be possible to route the music tracks through your XP PC on to your son’s PSP.

 

30/12/05

TAKING THE MIKE

Hi Rick. I would like to record a voice commentary to a DVD, and have the necessary software to do this. My trouble is that I would like two people to provide commentary, but it is difficult to share one microphone, as you need to position your mouth very close to the mic for the sound to pick up. I purchased a two-into-one audio jack, and have therefore been able to plug two microphones into the one mic slot. The trouble is that when I have both mics connected, the PC does not pick up any sound from either.  As soon as I unplug one of them, the remaining one works fine. Do you have any ideas about what I might be doing wrong, or is there a better way of achieving the end result?

Mark Franklin

 

A. Well, it was worth a try… Connecting two mikes together is not a good idea, and as you have discovered it will cause all sorts of problems. My guess is the mikes are not the same type and there’s a serious impedance mis-match with your soundcard’s micophone input. The correct way to do it is to use a microphone mixer. This is a simple device that lets you combine and control the sound from two or more microphones. A few years ago there used to be loads of them but they seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days, nevertheless, I managed to track down a couple on the Maplin website and one (part no L71AK), has 3 channels, no less, and it’s all yours for the princely sum of £6.99. 

 

29/12/05

SPEEDY STANDBY SHORTCUT?

Hi Rick, thank you for the previous tip on creating quick closedown shortcut. Is there a rapid way of putting a desktop shortcut (I use Windows XP) on standby? I have used Fn+F12 on my laptop for years but there is no Fn key on my new desktop.

D.Norfolk.

 

A. The Function Key shortcut for quick Standby on your laptop was probably a built-in or bundled utility and would have only worked on that machine but there are various ways to get Windows XP into Standby from the keyboard. The simplest is to press Winkey then U, then S, which takes you to the normal shutdown dialogue and then puts the machine in Standby. If you want to create a desktop shortcut then right-click on the desktop, select New > Shortcut and in the ‘Type the Location…’ box enter or copy and paste the following:

 

rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll, SetSuspendState

 

Click Next, give it a name like ‘Standby’ then OK and try it out.

 

28/12/05

WHERE’S THE WELCOME GONE?

Rick, I have windows XP and now for some reason when I switch on the computer the usual " Welcome" window does not show. I now get a black background with a password window and until I click enter the computer goes no further. I have tried System Restore but this has not helped. I have tried to change this in User accounts but keep getting the message Uninstall Client Services for Net Ware. I have looked every where to find where I can do this but to no avail, can you help

Terry Mason

 

A. I wonder if you’ve inadvertently enabled one of my Top Tips and turned off the Windows ‘Splash Screen’? If so all you have to do is go to Run on the Start menu and type ‘msconfig’ (without the quotes), then select the Boot.Ini tab. If it has been switched off there will be a check mark next to the item  ‘/NOGUIBOOT’ 

 

27/12/05

CLEANING CONSPIRACY?

Hello Rick, can you point me in the right direction please? I have CCleaner on screen  > click Analyse - after a few seconds - " Analysis Complete - 147.0MB to be removed  " Long list of files, starting with IE Temporary Internet Files (9401 files) 23.6 MB  >   Click  Run Cleaner " This process will permanently delete files from your computer" If I delete all these files, will there be anything left?

Bob  Hutton

 

A. Once you click the Run button CCleaner will delete all of the files that have been selected. The default selection is a list of files that one way or another records your Internet activites. These include Cookies, which are small text files left behind by the web sites that you visit. Cookies are generally innocuous but they may contain personal details and preferences, however, far more worrying is the contents of the index.dat file. This is a hidden and protected Windows log file that records every web site you have ever visited, potentially since day one. The contents of the Index.dat file cannot be deleted by normal means and depending on your point of view it could represent a serious threat to your privacy. Why, you may ask would such a facility exist? Conspiracy theorists maintain it was put there at the behest of the FBI. I’ve yet to hear a convincing technical explanation for its inclusion, there’s certainly no need for it for normal web surfing and deleting it certainly does no harm, but you’ll have to make up your own mind.

 

24-26/12/05

HIJACKED BROWSER, NEW REMOVAL TOOL ON TRIAL

Dear Rick, I have just been reading one of the BootLogs and note that you are an enthusiastic user of Microsoft Antispyware. I have installed Microsoft Antispyware, which I have now run 8 times since installation. On each occasion a sever threat has been identified. I have either removed or quarantined the threat after identification. When the software is run again the same threat is identified. The details of the threat show up as follows:

 

‘AutoSearch Browser Modifier  more information. Details: AutoSearch is an Internet Explorer browser helper object that redirects address bar searches to a specific We site. Status: Removed Severe threat - Severe-risk items have an extreme potential for harm, such as a security exploit, and should be removed. Infected registry keys/values detected HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\clsid\

{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\software\classes\

clsid\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}”

 

The only symptom that I have noticed that could be related to this threat is that occasionally when I enter an incorrect web address I am redirected to a pornographic portal. I have never entered the site. I have not yet tried to delete these registry keys as I am a little concerned of any knock on effect. Your help and assistance would be appreciated.

Jeremy Cocker

 

A. The long and the short of it is that your PC has been infected by a nasty little piece of Malware and although MS AntiSpyware can detect it, it can’t or won’t remove it for you possibly because it mimics the behavoir of a legitimate  Browser Helper Object  (BHO). I wouldn’t recommend delving into the Registry unless you know precisely what you are doing and have made a backup and set a System Restore point first. In any case there is an easier way and I’ve been trialling a neat little freeware utility called ToolBar Cop, that precisely targets BHOs and can remove them. The current version is very easy to use and so far seems to do a very thorough job. You’ll find a link to the download in the BootLog Software Archive.

 

23/12/05

HALF-COCKED HOTFIX

Hello Rick, during boot up I receive the following dialogue box:

"Q828026 Setup

AVAILABLE SWITCHES:

[/help] [/quiet] [/passive] [/uninstall] [/norestart] [/forcerestart] [/l] [/n] [/o] [/f]…’

 

Clicking OK gets rid of it but I would prefer it not to appear. I have checked Q828026 on the MS Knowledge base and it is associated with Windows Media Player. I have Media Player 10 installed.  Am a daily visitor to BootLog and Propellerhead, which to a silver surfer like myself are very helpful.

Pat Foley

 

A. Thanks for the support Pat, it's much appreciated! The snappily named Q828026 is a Microsoft ‘Hotfix’ security update for older versions (v6 to 9) of Windows Media Player. It appears that you have downloaded but not finished installing the patch on your PC. You could try to manually complete the installation but I suspect you will end up chasing your tail so I suggest that you just uninstall it and to avoid ever having to grapple with it again upgrade to the latest version of Windows Media Player (v10). The Q828026 upgrade should show up in Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel as ‘Windows Media Player Hotfix 828026’, click Remove and when it has finished reboot then pop along to the Windows Media Player 10 download web page.

 

22/12/05

REMOVNG QUICKSHIELD

Hi Rick, can you help me please? I have Quikshield installed on my PC and it is driving me crazy I want to remove it but I am unable to trace the file on my system I have looked on the web but unable to trace any info apart the web site asking me to subscribe.

Colin Gear

 

A. Some programs can bury themselves away, making them difficult to uninstall but as far as I am aware this one should be quite simple to remove. According to the FAQ on the Quikshield web site all you have to do is right-click on the QS icon in the System Tray (next to the clock) and select Options, this screen should include an uninstall utility. If the icon isn’t shown right-click onto an empty part of the Taskbar, select Properties and the Taskbar tab and make sure ‘Hide inactive icons’ isn’t checked. As a further precaution I suggest running RegSeeker, a freeware utility that removed redundant Registry entries. Use the Clean the Registry tool but before you do make sure the Backup option is checked, just in case something goes awry. 

 

21/12/05

SLOW STARTUP AND BELIGERENT BLOOTHOOTH

Dear Rick I have a fairly powerful PC with lots of programs and gadgets connected to it. Digital photography is my thing so there are 2 printers plus film and flatbed scanners etc. as well as a wireless router to network an old laptop my wife uses for her work.  Despite all your tuning tips XP takes almost 3 minutes to finish starting from cold. Any ideas? Also, the pc has a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I thought using 'standby' instead of shutting down every time would save time but the machine won't 'wake up' with the mouse or keyboard despite checking these options in the 8IOS power settings and Windows device manager?

Will Robinson

 

A. It’s very difficult to say but a slow startup is almost always due to lots of background Services and Processes loading at the same time as Windows and judging by the number of peripherals you have connected to your machine it may be that some of these are slowing things down. The first thing I would do is disconnect and uninstall all of them, including the Bluetooth and network gubbins then go back to the XP Tuning Tips articles (in particular Boot Camp 357) and work through the section on thinning out unwanted Services. When that is done reinstall the devices one at a time and see if one or more of them are slowing things down. If that doesn’t help and your XP installation is more than a couple of years old I would bite the bullet, back up all of your data and carry out a fresh install and monitor the change to the startup each time you load a new application or peripheral to see what’s causing the problem.

 

The problem with your Bluetooth mouse and keyboard is almost certainly a BIOS issue. My guess is the port they are using is not being power up when the PC comes out of Standby. Check the Support and FAQs on the manufacturer’s websites and it maybe worth seeing if there’s a BIOS update for your motherboard.

 

20/12/05

DVD DISC DILEMMA

Dear Rick, thanks for all your help in the past, and hope you can help now. My Compaq laptop crashed when trying to install XP (previously ME) and had to be repaired.  Lost everything including programs.  Everything sorted now (using XP) apart from not being able to play DVDs when I previously could before crash. A message comes up saying, "cannot play DVD because a compatible DVD decoder is not installed".  Is this something I have to buy, and if so how do I know which one is required.

Sue Everett

 

A. On its own Windows Media Player (WMP) cannot play DVDs, it requires a separate ‘codec’, or it can utilise the DVD codec included with a third-party DVD player. Presumably you had such a program (or codec) on your PC before the crash, so hunt through the discs that came with the PC and see if one is included. They often come with DVD drives, or it may be part of the software bundle provided by the manufacturer. If you can’t find one then try Media Player Classic V6, it’s freeware, the download is small (2.2Mb), it’s easy to use and it works really well.

 

19/12/05

VANISHING VIRUS

My Norton anti-virus software throws up a non-viral threat and locates it in Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\E93GDORU\Spamblockerutility(1).exe. I cannot find this file to delete it in Temporary Internet Files and running AdAware and Spybot fails to remove it. Any suggestions?

W. Morrison

 

A. Spamblocker is a fairly low-level adware parasite, I’m not sure why AdAware and Spybot are missing it but it’s worth another go if you have updated their signature files recently. If it still won’t shift then it’s time to call in the big guns and use out old friend Hijack This. Download and install HTJ then run a Scan. I suspect Spamblocker will show up on the scan list several times, so check each instance and click the Fix button, reboot and hopefully that’s the last you’ll see of it.

 

17-18/12/05

FIREWALLS, HARD OR SOFT?

Hi Rick, you responded recently (07/12/05) to a question over Broadband and firewalls, could I ask a further question to get your views on router firewalls? I have a Netgear DG834GT, which has its own built-in firewall. With that left on its default settings do you think it is satisfactory on its own? Many thanks again for an excellent site

Ken Scott

 

A. There are basically two types of firewall, your Netgear router features a so-called ‘hardware’ firewall, then there are ‘software’ firewalls, like the one built into Windows XP and third-party programs like Zone Alarm and those marketed by the likes of Norton, McAfee, Sygate and so on. Hardware firewalls are generally very good at blocking inbound traffic from the Internet, like hackers trying to access PCs on your network, and they usually require little or no configuration. However, they are less good at intercepting attempts by programs on your networked PCs to access your Internet connection, which includes nasties like Spyware, Trojans and Keyloggers, which could pass on private and personal information stored on your PC. The XP firewall does a similar job, i.e. it can stop hack attacks but it can’t do anything about Malware infections on your PC.

 

The main advantage of a commercial software firewall is that they are configurable so that every time something on your PC tries to connect to the Internet you will be alerted and asked if you want to allow it or not. The downside of a software firewall is that it only protects the PC it’s installed on, so if you have several PCs sharing a network connection through your router each of them needs its own firewall.

 

16/12/05

MUSICAL MYSTERY

I have used RealPlayer to burn CD’s that I want to play on a home CD player, which works fine. But how do I know the format that the CD stores the music? Clicking on ‘properties’ simply says that it is a ‘music’ file.

‘Taxworth’

 

A. Sorry about the teccy jargon but it helps to know that the tracks on a pre-recorded audio CD conform to the standard CD Audio (CD-A, file extension *.cda) or ‘Red Book format. CD-A files contain raw digitised16-bit data with a sampling rate of 44,100Hz and this is very similar to the standard Windows *.wav audio format. The main difference is that CDA parameters are fixed whereas the sample rate and number of bits are variable in the *wav format. CDA and wav files are identified in blocks of data called the ‘header’

 

Since CD-A and wav files are so similar that Windows doesn’t always discriminate between them and just calls them ‘music files’. In most cases it doesn’t matter as Windows Media Player and just about every other media player plays both types of file. However, I have noticed that Windows will identify cda files after installing Winamp, so give that a try if it bothers you, otherwise I suspect the only way to make Windows recognise CDA files is to set up a file association in Windows Explorer (Tools > Folder Options. File Types).

 

15/12/05

POSTCODE POSER

Hi Rick, I have an annoying problem and can't work out whom to speak to, to fix it. When ordering online or by phone the software that automatically pulls up my address from the postcode but prefixes the house name with the previous owners business name. Do you know where this software comes from and gets its info from so I can contact them and get it changed?

 

Also, here's a Tip of the Day for you; Remind people how useful clicking the "images" button on Google can be prior to searching. It often pulls up some interesting sites that the usual search misses. Keep up the good work,

Peter Lane

 

A. Thanks for the Tip Peter, Google Images is an amazing resource and it has rarely let me down, even when looking for something really obscure. As for your postcode problem, the principle sources of data for web sites and call centres that use this type of software are the Royal Mail,  BT Phone Book and 192.com. Royal Mail distribute a database called the PAF (Postcode Address File) which is updated quarterly. Try giving RM’s Data Products department a call on 0845 6039038 or visit Customer Service for a problem report form. The BT Phone Book has created a similar database of UK addresses and businesses, click here for its Support Department and here for 192.com’s Contact page.

 

14/12/05

LOUDER LAPTOP

The maximum volume on my laptop is so feeble as to make CD playback almost inaudible. I've tried the Control Panel route, setting every slider in sight to maximum - is there maybe something I could do in the (gulp) registry? I'm sure the best practical solution would be external amplified speakers, but I'm curious.

Derek Wildman (Olsztyn, Poland)

 

A. I assume that you have set the correct speaker type your machine -- it’s on the Sound icon in Control Panel, select the Volume tab then click the Advanced button and choose Laptop from the drop down menu. However, I fear that it’s probably as loud as it is going to get. You only have to look where the sound comes from on most laptops to understand why. How loud can a speaker be that’s only an inch or two across? That’s not to say you cannot get very decent sound quality and volume from a laptop without external speakers, try plugging in a decent pair of headphones, but if you want to fill even a modest sized room them I’m afraid you are going to have to stump up for a set of amplified speakers.

 

13/12/05

DIRTY CLEANERS?

There are a number of software products on the market, which claim to remove all traces of past Internet activity from one's computer. This seems to be a good idea, but I am wary of buying them in case they contain malware of some sort. Do you have any experience of their use?  One in particular claims to be the best, but their website is so "hard sell" that I am suspicious.

David Satchell

 

A. You are right to be cautious and a worryingly large number of so-called ‘cleaners’ try to frighten you into buying them, or carry their own malware payloads. For the record I only recommend CCleaner (Crap Cleaner), which is free and works brilliantly on all versions of Windows, including XP. This empties out the most pernicious of the hidden Windows log files (index.dat) as well as a number of other History files and to date it has performed flawlessly.

 

On the wider topic of Malware cleaners again I have found the freeware offerings to be more than adequate and I use AdAware, Spybot and Microsoft AntiSpyware (XP Only). I run all three at least once a week and so far they haven’t let me down, though my PC is virtually immune to this kind of infection since I use Firefox for 99.9 percent of my web browsing. Before downloading or installing any Malware cleaner I strongly suggest that you check the list of ‘rogue’ products listed on the Spywarewarrior web site.

 

12/12/05

HUB SNUBS MOUSE ON STANDBY

I read your recent advice in BootLog concerning USB hubs. I installed one (a powered type) on my laptop which has only two USB ports, to which were connected an external modem and the mouse.  Before attaching the hub I didn't uninstall the modem and mouse and XP recognised them both once the hub was connected. However on occasion, when I wake the laptop from standby, the mouse is "dead" and I have to use the touch pad, or reboot.  Obviously something doesn't load after waking up from Standby, but I can't think what to change to get rid of the glitch. Any ideas gratefully received. The site continues to be a gem.

Frances Cooper

 

A. Thanks for the encouragement and hopefully we can sort out your little problem. There is a known glitch with some Toshiba laptops Portege 4000, DynaBook SS M3/M4 and DynaBook SS 4000, but even if your machine isn’t on the list I suspect something may be happening as it’s due to mis-configured power-management, which mistakenly switches off the port replicator, which behaves in a similar manner to an external USB hub. The solution is plug in the hub and make sure everything is working then go to Start > Control Panel and double-click the System icon. Click the Hardware button then Device Manager and scroll down the lost to Universal Serial Bus Controllers and double-click the icon. There you will see one or more entries called USB Root Hub, right-click on each one in turn and select Properties then the Power Management tab and uncheck ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power’. Repeat for each entry, exit the dialogue boxes and reboot. If you do have one of the Tosh laptops lists you should also have a look at MS Knowledgebase article 839042, which has some additional steps that you might need to take.

 

10-11/12/05

IN SEARCH OF THE LOST WORD

Hi there, I've just got my computer back after repairs to replace the hard drive, I seem to have most of what I had before but not Word. Is it possible it has been lost, or not re installed or something? By the way I am not an expert so is there anything I can do without taking I back to the repairers, as they had it so long I am reluctant to return it again.

Victor D.

 

A. There’s an easy way to find if Word is still on your PC and that’s to go to Run on the Start menu and type ‘winword’ (without the quotes), if it is there it will open and you can go to Windows Explorer and work your way to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office, right click on the Winword.exe icon and select Send To > Desktop create shortcut. If not I’m afraid Word is either damaged or not there and you will have to reinstall it. This also serves as a useful reminder to all PC users to make sure their backups are always up to date so if your PC has to go away for repair and the hard drive has to be replaced you won’t loose irreplaceable data. Don’t forget to remove any personal or private information as well, it’s not unheard of for old drives to be resold or installed in new PCs.

 

 

FOXES BEGONE…

I put ‘fox urine deterrent ‘ into Google.com and came up with your website talking about using human urine as a deterrent for getting rid of foxes. What I am looking for is powdered fox urine and wonder if it is sold in this country. It is available in the USA but they do not ship it overseas. I am trying to get rid of squirrels and apparently this is a most effective method. I just want to get them out of my attic without the bother of trapping or poisoning them. If I can get them out I can make the attic secure again. Can you help please?

Angela Smith

 

A. Thanks for demonstrating so convincingly what a fantastic resource BootLog can be. Google is referring to a question and some very helpful answers published in the Over 2 You section of the Archive -- O2Y152 to be specific. I’m afraid I cannot help you on this matter but BootLog is read far and wide so if anyone out there can assist Angela in her quest for a source of powdered fox pee I would be happy to pass it on. Incidentally I’ve had several requests to revive Over 2 You on BootLog, it’s certainly something I’m considering, so stay tuned.

 

09/12/05

XP NOT SO QUICK FOR MEDIA FILES

Hi Rick, pleased though I am with the speed of my new XP computer I cannot understand why Windows Media refuses to play .mov files as did its predecessor despite being upgraded to version 10. No problem with audio files.  Can you suggest what might be wrong or missing?

Don from Brentwood

 

A. It helps to know that .mov files are more correctly known as the Apple QuickTime multimedia files, and that there’s a certain amount of commercial rivalry between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to multimedia technologies. Windows Media Player (WMP to its friends) can be persuaded to play older QuickTime (version 2.0 or earlier) files, but this requires a Codec to be installed in WMP and my guess is that’s what you had on your previous PC, either that of you had Apple QuickTime installed and they played through that. QuickTime files later than version 2 will not play in WMP, at least I’m not aware of any updated codecs, and the only way you can watch them is by installing a QuickTime player, which you can download for free from Apple

http://www.apple.com/quicktime

 

08/12/05

SPEEDTOUCH GO-SLOW

Hi Rick, perhaps you can help me with a long-standing problem? I use Windows ME with a Thomson Speedtouch Internet modem. Of late, every time I try to connect to the Internet I receive a message Error 0633 the port is already in use. I then switch off the computer totally; re-start it and the Internet is successfully connected; your help would be greatly appreciated.

Michael Tudor

 

A. The Error 0633 message indicates there could be a problem with the modem driver so the first thing I would do is whilst the connection is working is go to the Alcatel Speedtouch support page and download and install the latest Windows ME driver.

 

There is another (slim) possibility and that concerns a known glitch in Windows ME, which may try to initiate a dial-up connection at the same time as a broadband connection. To stop it happening go to Start > Settings Dial-Up Networking, right click on the default connection icon, select Properties and uncheck ‘Dial whenever a connection is not present’, click OK, exit all the dialogue boxes and reboot.

 

07/12/05

FIREWALL FUNDAMENTALS

Hi Rick, I have just signed up for BT Broadband and I am wondering about the best firewall to install. They want an extra £3.50 a month for theirs (a bit naughty that as there was no warning beforehand that is wasn't included in the basic option). It seems a bit steep to me. I see that AVG have one - with a price quoted in dollars (just under $50). That seems to include updates for two years - after which one presumably has to pay again. Any other suggestions?

 

By the way, what exactly does a firewall do that my Spydoctor, AdAware, Spybot, AVG and the Yahoo Anti-spy don't?

Keith Jenkins

 

A. A firewall is basically a gatekeeper for the Internet, protecting your PC against hackers and putting you in control of the applications on your PC that seek to use your connection. These include ‘malware’ programs, like Trojans and Spyware that can pass on information stored on your PC to crooks. Spydoctor, AdAware and SpyBot are malware cleaners that detect and remove infections once they’ve been installed on your computer, usually by clicking on pop-ups and message boxes on web pages. AVG, of course, is a virus scanner, that protects your PC against nasties hiding inside email attachments and programs.    

 

Before you splash out on a commercial Firewall see how you get on with ZoneAlarm, it’s free and it works (though the most recent version has had a few hiccups but Zone Labs seem to have sorted most of them now). Incidentally, unlike virus scanners and malware cleaners which have to cope with constantly changing threats Firewalls shouldn’t need updating as often as they have one simple job to do -- controlling Internet access.

 

06/12/05

NO DISK ERROR MESSAGE

Firstly Rick, thanks for some excellent sites. I originally encountered you via Telegraph "Connected" and now also enjoy BootLog and Propellerhead. Congratulations!

Now for my question. I run an up to date PC with the XP Home SP2 operating system. DVD R/W drive and a DVD ROM drive. Recently at start up I get this annoying message: Title Bar: "Windows No Disk", followed be the message, "There is no disk in he drive. Please insert a disk into the drive", followed by "Cancel", "Try Again", "Continue" buttons. If I hit cancel, the message may, or may not repeat for an random number of times before all is OK. I do not always want to leave a disc in the drives. Can you suggest a solution, other than the obvious?

Alan Walker

 

A. Thanks for the support and I’m pleased you like the sites. Now for your problem; I doubt very much that your PC is looking for the Windows installation CD, but there’s no end of other things it could be. Think back, did it start after you installed a program, if so try uninstalling and reinstalling it? I’ve heard of this problem being caused by Norton Anti Virus, QuickTime and even our old friend Spybot so try disabling or uninstalling them to see if that makes a difference. It can also be due to a removable disc drive, like a pen drive or Zip drive wrongly assigned to a drive letter that’s in use but it’s far more likely to be a rogue system process. So, if none of the above apply leave the message on the screen and open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Right-click on the ‘No Disk’ entry and select Go To Process and this should tell you what is generating the message. You can then Google the name of the service or process to find out what it is and whether or not it is safe to terminate, remove or reinstall. 

 

05/12/05

RURAL DIVIDE

Dear Rick, having had a visit by a BT engineer, I am told that we live too far from our local exchange to support ADSL and so cannot get broadband. This is very infuriating with so much hype everywhere on high-speed connections and ever more complex, slow-loading websites becoming commonplace.

 

Are there alternatives? I've tried Onspeed but have not been impressed. Satellite seems too pricey, as you also need to retain a dialup account for uploading. What has happened to WiMax?

Mark Pickard

 

A. Back in 2003 the BT’s stated intention was to achieve 100 percent UK broadband coverage by 2005. Clearly that hasn’t happened but it’s getting close with an estimated 99.6 percent of the population now, or about to in reach of a connection, but that’s not what you want to hear.

 

You and your local community can certainly help things along by lobbying BT and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), there’s nothing like a healthy demand for getting things moving. Even if it’s just you who wants it (or you live in a remote location) there’s still a lot you can do and I recommend that you have a word with the Rural Broadband Access Project (RBAP) who are coordinating efforts to reach the few remaining areas. WiMax isn’t dead and this long-range Wi-Fi technology, also known as Radio Broadband is being implemented in areas that cannot be reached by cable; several systems are up and running, like Skylink in Kent with more in the pipeline and again it’s in your interests to make your voice heard and give the people who can make a difference a good hard prod.

 

03-04/12/05

BLEAK OUTLOOK?

Dear Rick, I have been following the steps outlined in Boot Camp 376. I would like to locate my emails file and I have gone through the steps to Application Data\Identities\<GUID>. There I find the long string of characters but the file is empty and I cannot proceed to Microsoft\Outlook Express. Is there any way to get around this problem?

Alan Hunt

 

A. That’s odd, I wonder if you’ve tried an earlier tip and moved your Outlook Express Store file to another location? But first, in Windows Explorer go to Tools > Folder Options > View and make sure that ‘Show hidden files and folders’ has been checked, if not do so and try again. If it is still empty (and OE is working normally) then your Store folder has been moved and you can find out where to by opening OE and going to Tools > Options, select the Maintenance tab and click the Store Folder button and its present location will be revealed.

 

 

LEAK PLUGGED BY XP

Hi Rick, on my earlier PC's I had a favourite screensaver called Leak.scr which imitated the sight of water dripping down the inside of the monitor screen.  I can't get it to run on XP. Can you help?

Tom Hart

 

A. Leak.scr, or to give it its full name, Leaking Roof was written in the mid 1990’s, originally for Windows 3.1 and it ran happily on Windows 95 through to 98ME but it is a 16-bit application and 32-bit Windows XP doesn't like it, but iyou should be able to get it to work if you save the file in C:\windows\system 32. On the Screensaver Control Panel select None then click the Settings button and Leak should be listed and you can configure the number of droplets.

 

02/12/05

DIRT CHEAP?

I wonder if you could comment on a problem I have encountered when burning a dozen downloaded iTunes tracks onto a CD. The CD in question was one of a pack of ten bought from a well-known PC store; they were cheap at something like £4 for 10. The immediate result when played back was good. However, after playing about ten times one track became repetitive like a needle fault on an LP. I tried a commercially recorded CD on the player and it was perfect. Am I correct in assuming that the quality of the cheap CD was the reason for the malfunction and whether I should purchase a better quality CD? If that is the case can you recommend a brand? Does this also apply when transferring photos onto a CD?

Harry Jeffers

 

A. The first thing to say is that even after all these years recording or ‘burning’ CDs and DVDs is still not an exact science. Some say it’s a black art and I tend to agree with them, when you know a little about the technology involved it’s a wonder it works at all.  But back to your problem, yes, it’s quite possible the disc was faulty, though it is a little unusual for a problem to develop after a few plays as there’s no physical contact between the drive and the disc.

 

At least that’s the theory, it could be that the player is damaging the disc, check the surface carefully for any circular scratches that might indicate that laser head, or some trapped dirt or debris is coming into contact with the spinning disc. In any case I would run a cleaner disc through the drive, just to make sure. As for recommending a brand all I can say is stick to the well-known makes and you can’t go wrong but that said I have been using ultra-cheap unbranded discs for years and have experienced very few failures. Some drives are more tolerant than others, so try a few different ones.

 

Finally, from a practical point of view there is no difference between a disc containing audio and one with pictures; it’s all digital data. The integrity, or otherwise, of a recording is down to the quality of the media, the recording and playback device and the processing software.   

 

01/12/05

GHOST IN THE MACHINE?

Hi Rick, my e-machine (Windows XP Home Edition) mysteriously switches itself on, usually during the night or if I've been out for a long period during the day. Whilst sorting out another problem recently, the PC World engineer went into the blue stuff and enabled/disabled something, which seemed to solve the problem. The PC has just come back from a successful health check but I cannot get a response from the PCW automated help site and am loathe to take the machine back to the store as it is in daily use. Any ideas?

Robin Johnston

 

A. I would lay money on it being a BIOS feature called ‘Wake on Ring’ or ‘Wake on LAN’. In other words the PC is set to switch itself on if it detects any activity on the modem phone line or network connection. My guess is the BIOS was reset to its defaults when it was being checked out.

 

You need to go into the PC’s BIOS usually by pressing a key (or combination of keys) immediately after switch on and before Windows starts loading. You may see an on-screen message flash up to this effect (‘To enter setup press…) otherwise it should be mentioned in the motherboard or owner’s manuals that came with your PC. When in the BIOS program look in the Integrated Peripherals or Advanced Features menu and disable the ‘Wake on…’ options, touch nothing else, save the settings Exit and reboot.

 

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