Houston We Have a Problem… 031 28/04/07


Flickering Freeview

We get glitches (momentary loss of picture and sound) on our Freeview receiver.  We are in a marginal area and our aerial fitter supplied a signal booster so we can get Freeview with our set-top box.  But the glitches are irritating and sometimes the box locks up. Is this a hardware problem or have you heard of such problems generally?

Keith Cox, via email


In poor reception areas analogue TV pictures look increasingly grainy but digital equipment is much less tolerant and the image freezes, becomes ‘blocky’ or disappears. It seems that despite the booster your signal is still too weak and my guess is you need a high-gain rooftop aerial. There is some good general purpose information about reception problems on the Freeview Help website (http://tinyurl.com/ytjads) but for a detailed analysis of signal strength in your locality, along with specific recommendations for aerials and so on enter your postcode or OS map coordinates into the UK Digital Reception Predictor at: http://tinyurl.com/26uw4




Scareware Scam Removal

For the last few weeks, every time that I switch on my computer, a program called WinAntiVirus Pro automatically downloads and I have to wait five minutes before I can close it down and use my computer. My existing anti-virus program works perfectly well and I do not want this intruder. Please can you tell me how to get rid of it?

Tony Ellis. By email


This nasty little piece of work comes under the heading ‘Scareware’ a program that reports false positives to frighten you into buying even more useless and in some cases malicious software. It can be removed by manually editing the Windows Registry, which is a lot of hard work, or by using a free removal tool called Virtumundobegone; there is a link to it on a McAfee help forum at: http://tinyurl.com/b6ogx




Installing Windows XP on a Second PC

I have a properly licensed copy of Windows XP Home installed on my PC. I have just bought a laptop.  Is it legal for me to use the same disc to install Windows XP on the laptop, please?

Gil Dowdall-Brown, by email


By all means but under the terms of the Windows EULA (End User Licence Agreement) a single licensed copy of XP can only be installed on one PC at a time. Each new installation of Windows XP has to be ‘Activated’ via the Internet, or by phone within 30 days, after which it stops working. There are loopholes and dodges but if you want to play by the rules and make sure that you receive regular updates from Microsoft then you should buy another copy of XP if you want to continue using your first PC.



Say Goodbye to Windows 98

Left to myself, I'd keep using my fairly reliable Windows 98 set-up, but now, not only has Microsoft withdrawn support but my Internet provider is about to do the same. So I'm considering an upgrade to Windows XP. I did hope that with the advent of Vista, there might be some bargain deals in the shops on XP upgrade kits, but have seen none so far. Are there any ways you could suggest that I might undertake the process with the least pain? One possibility is to borrow somebody else's kit, though this may be morally incorrect or perhaps not do-able. I thought you might well know legitimate and user-friendly (I am an amateur) ways of doing the job, assuming that is that it's worthwhile.

John Robinson, via email


See the previous reply for information about installing Windows XP on more than one computer.  However, your Windows 98 PC is getting on a bit and if it is more than five or six years old then there is a good chance that components will start to fail in the near future. In any event it is unlikely that it would be able to run Windows XP properly without some major upgrades and the hard drive is probably full up so now might be a good time retire your old PC and buy a new one. There are some real bargains at the moment with fast multimedia machines selling for less than £400 and you would still have your old Windows 98 PC for backup and emergencies. 




Floppy Foibles

I cannot open two 3.5in floppy disks full of saved material. The message reads: "Disk in drive A is not formatted - do you want to format now". I appreciate that if I format the disc I will lose all the stored material.

Is it possible I can solve this problem myself?

Tony Mackenzie, by email


There is a very good chance the data on the discs is readable, but not by the drive on your PC. If you have access to another PC with a floppy drive try reading them on that.  If they are okay then there are several possibilities. If the floppy drive ‘Activity’ light doesn’t come on when a disc is inserted the data or power supply cables on the rear of the drive may have worked loose or the drive itself is faulty. If the light comes on then the drive may just need mucking out. Try using a good quality floppy drive cleaner kit, available from stationers and computer suppliers for around £5.00.



© R. Maybury 2007 2603

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