Houston We Have a Problem… 022 17/02/07
Losing Your Cool
the past seven or eight months my computer has been shutting down quite
unexpectedly; it then keeps on rebooting itself until eventually an error
message appears stating that the computer has been shut down to protect the
system (or something to that effect). Sometimes I can go for weeks
without this problem, sometimes days. The only way I have been able to
correct this is to unplug the computer from the mains, wait an hour
or two and then try again. Any clues as to what might be causing this and
how I can avoid it in future?
Hurst, by email
sounds to me like a cooling problem. My money would be on a failing or clogged
CPU cooling fan, especially if you use your PC operates in a dusty or smoky
atmosphere. CPU fans often wear out after three or four years and usually the
first sign they are about to pop their clogs is an intermittent high-pitched
whine from the bearings. Otherwise dust and fluff can foul the fan blades or
reducing the flow of air through the finned ‘Heat Sink’ mounted on top of the
may only need mucking out; this is something you can do yourself with an ‘air
duster’ (a can of compressed gas, available from most PC and stationary
suppliers for around £5.00), to clean out your computer’s cooling system – just
remember to do it outside...
the fan is running slowly or stopping then it needs replacing. It is not an
especially difficult or expensive job though it does involve close contact with
some very delicate components on the computer’s motherboard so if you are not
entirely happy about tinkering with your machine’s innards leave it to the
experts. Incidentally, on many recent PCs you can monitor the temperature of
the CPU from the BIOS program (see your manual for details) or by using a free
utility like Motherboard Monitor (http://mbm.livewiredev.com/),
which will also alert you if the temperature it exceeds a safe, preset value.
What’s ‘dat’ attachment?
As a member of a small investment club, I receive
emails from our Chairman with Word and Excel file attachments. Unfortunately
these arrive as "dat" files which although I can download them, they
make no sense at all when I try to open them. At least three other members
experience the same problem and we would all like to be able to open them to
see what is happening to our investments. The attachments are called
"winmail.dat" files which he says he writes using Microsoft Word.
S. by email
My guess is the Chairman is using Microsoft Outlook to send
those emails. You could install a decoder program like WMDecode (http://www.biblet.freeserve.co.uk/)
but since other members of your group are also being affected it would be
better to ask him to change the way he sends those messages. The simplest
option would be to use Outlook Express; otherwise he can make some configuration changes to Outlook to stop it
happening. These are outlined in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 138053 (http://tinyurl.com/2cmokw)
Words In Word won’t go away
typed a page in Word and saved it. Now every time I open Word it is still there
on the first page. I have opened the file and deleted it. I have gone to Search
found it and deleted it, but it is still there. I have uninstalled Word and
reinstalled Word and it is still there. Please tell me how do I get rid of it?
Glasscoe, by email
has happened is that that you have accidentally entered text into the blank
‘Normal’ document template, which opens every time you launch Word. To remove
it you need to edit the template file in Word. It is not easy to find so go to
Open on the File menu and work your way to C:\Documents and
Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates and double-click
to open ‘normal.dot’. Once on the screen you can delete the rogue text and Save
it and the next time you open Word the page should be blank.
Printing Web Pages
want to print certain web pages but it nearly always ends up with parts missing
from the right hand side of the page. I have tried changing the margins
and switching from portrait to landscape but all with no success. Any
Nixon, by email
the paper orientation sometimes helps but the basic problem is that most web
pages are simply not designed to be printed. Nevertheless, there are one or two
other things you can try. In Internet Explorer select Print Preview and use the
Shrink to Fit menu to see if that manages to squeeze everything in. Otherwise I
suggest that you try the Mozilla Firefox browser, which does a much better job
of printing awkward web pages. Firefox is free (download it from: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/).
You can continue to use Internet Explorer, or both browsers at the same time,
should you feel so inclined.
© R. Maybury 2007