Houston We Have a Problem... 43, 14/07/07
Broadband Outlook Unsettled
Every time we
have bad weather, e.g. heavy rain, we lose our broadband connection. Long
conversations with my ISP have not clarified the problem, although they have
given me a method of reconnecting, which works. It is frustrating, though,
because it happens so frequently. We do live out in the sticks here, and our
broadband is very slow, but none of our neighbours has this problem. Any ideas?
Graham Clarke, by
Since there is
nothing in Windows (that I am aware of…) that is affected by inclement weather
I suspect that it might be a BT issue. It could be something as simple as
moisture getting into one of the phone cable boxes outside your home or up the
pole. Since you appear to be at or close to the limits of BT’s reach, any small
change in line quality – an intermittent or noisy connection for example -- can
cause instability and dropped connections. BT’s Fault service (http://www2.bt.com/faults) should be your
first port of call, where you can carry out an automated check on your line.
Not So Bright
I have a Brother printer and I have tried to install the
programs on the CD-ROM that came with it but I have since learnt that it is not
compatible with Windows Vista. Part of it has installed, but it is of no use to
me and now it will not uninstall. I have been in touch with Brother Support and
all they could say was that there have been problems with this CD and Vista and
they have no solution about how to uninstall it.
Carol Lamerick, by email
Some companies are
not bothering to develop Vista drivers or patches for what they consider to be
old or 'obsolete' products. If the printer is working normally but the
partially installed program is being a nuisance -- with pop-ups etc -- you
should be able to disable it in the Startup group. Go to Search on the Start
menu, type ‘msconfig’, (without the quotes), double click on ‘System
Configuration’ and when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears, click
Continue. Select the Startup tab and deselect any items relating to your
For future reference
when a program doesn’t work or misbehaves under Vista it is worth trying the
'Compatibility Mode’ option. Open Windows Explorer and work you way to the
program folder, right click on the program's Application '.exe' file, select
the Compatibility tab, check the item 'Run this program in compatibility
mode...', select your version of Windows form the drop down menu and click OK.
seeing a message from my ‘local system’, which at the moment I am ignoring, as
I don't know whether it is safe to let it in. It says ‘Critical Error –
Registry Damaged and Corrupted’. Sometimes I find it difficult to cancel the
pop-up, but is it safe to carry out the procedure recommended?
You are wise to
ignore it because it is Spam and quite probably a con as well. It is designed
to frighten you into buying what will probably turn out to be useless software,
or worse! Most of these products report false positives; some will even
deliberately infect your machine with more nasties.
I suspect this
pop-up is coming to you via the Windows Messenger Service, which is supposed to
be used by administrators to send messages to network PC users. The Messenger
Service -- not to be confused with Windows or MSN Messenger instant messaging
-- is usually switched off by default in most recent versions of XP and it was
turned off by Service Pack 2 released a couple of years ago but your machine
seems to have fallen through the net. Don’t worry, you can switch it off
manually. Go to Start > Control Panel and select Performance and Maintenance
(or Administrative Tools), double-click 'Services' then scroll down the
list and double-click 'Messenger'. On the 'Startup Type' drop-down
menu select 'Disabled'. Click the Stop button then OK and the annoying pop-ups
should be no more.
Drop Down and Drop Out
using a dial-up connection to the Internet and every so often a small window
drops down top left telling me I have ignored an incoming call. Even if I say
OK or just close the window, it drops down a couple of times more then severs
my internet connection, which as you can imagine is a real pain when either
banking or trying to download a file.
Ward, by email
as though you are using BT Call
Waiting or Call Minder services. You can switch Call Waiting off before you
connect by dialling # 43 # (hash 43 hash). Afterwards, don’t forget to switch
it on again by dialling * 43 # (star 43 hash). Call Minder also upsets some
modems as it generates a 'stutter' dial tone to let you know you have a message
waiting, so before you go on line pick up your messages by first dialling 1571.
© R. Maybury 2007 2805