Ask Rick 045, 24/04/09 & Houston 126, 02/05/09
I have a Dell desktop running Vista Home Premium. My subscription
with McAfee needs to be renewed in June. Recently I started using Windows
Defender to scan the drives for viruses and that seems to be working fine,
alongside McAfee. Given that Microsoft updates Defender for nothing and McAfee
costs £40 pa, is there any benefit in continuing to subscribe, or am I wasting
my money? Are there other free virus checking services that I could use as an
alternative and are they updated regularly and competent to do the job?
Neil Upward, by email
In short you need both. Your virus scanner and Windows Defender do
quite different jobs. Viruses normally generally attack system files and spread
to other computers by replicating themselves, travel via the Internet,
networks, infected software, emails, discs and memory devices. Defender’s job is
to protect your machine against Malware and Spyware that targets Windows and
Windows applications, like Internet Explorer. These nasties don’t usually
replicate but sneak in through web pages, exploiting loopholes in Windows
security, which is clearly something Microsoft should know all about, and be
able to fix.
There’s nothing to stop you switching to a free anti-virus
program; most of them are updated daily or weekly and they provide similar
levels of protection against viruses as their commercial counterparts. However,
paid-for programs usually have many more features, which can include such
things as a firewall, malware and spyware cleaners and of course free and
usually live support. Support for freeware programs tends to be online, in the
form of FAQs and user forums.
I use an Epson
DX6000 printer and until recently have had no trouble with compatible
cartridges. However, I have run into difficulties with a recent batch,
which ran out when the computer reckoned they were still more than half
full. I replaced them with a pack from the same source but as fast as I
put one colour in another colour shows empty so I have used all four in
one day and still the printer shows one colour empty and refuses to function.
I have uninstalled and then
re-installed the printer but this has not solved the problem.
Should I remove all
4 suspect cartridges and insert genuine Epson cartridges? I am reluctant
to do this only to find it will still not work and the cartridges cannot be
re-inserted. They have now gone up to £36 a set! Any suggestions would be most welcome.
Norman Martin, by
It could be a
firmware problem but as I am sure you are aware, you will get little sympathy
from Epson once you’ve committed the cardinal sin of using ‘compatible’
cartridges. Many models in the Epson range can be ‘reset’ to factory defaults
by using a Service Code (pressing buttons in sequence) or through a service
utility but I’m unable to locate one for this particular model.
cartridges might do the trick but first I would try a couple of cheaper
remedies first. Chip ‘resetters’ are available for this model and zapping the
cartridges with one might get things moving. Alternatively, try a set of ARF
(always read full) or ARC (Auto Reset Chip) cartridges, which fool the printer
into thinking it has been fitted with brand new carts. The latter are available
online for around £10 empty, or £30 with bottles of refill ink.
I have just bought a new HP laptop running Vista with a fast
processor but the download speed on my mobile broadband dongle is very slow. It
works fine on my old XP laptop, which has a much slower processor. I have
contacted Orange, who says it should work equally well on both operating
systems. Both laptops are used in the same location. I just wondered if there
is anything I can do to help speed it up?
Alison Graham, by email
I agree with Orange and the operating system shouldn’t make a
difference. Try comparing the speeds at bandwidthplace.com, preferably at the
same time as slowdowns can occur due to network congestion. It may be due to
over-enthusiastic security software on your Vista laptop. Try temporarily
disabling the virus scanner and firewall by right clicking on their icons ion
the System Tray, next to the clock. Otherwise it could be something else
running in the background, clogging up the works. Press Ctrl + Al + Delete,
select Task Manager and check the Applications, Processes and Performance tabs
to see what’s running and using up resources.
Fonts in Outlook Express
When I start an email in Outlook Express Arial Black is
automatically set as the typeface. I would prefer to use Verdana. At the moment
I can only do this manually and afterwards it returns to Arial Black
Marlene Maguire, by email
The default font for sending emails in Outlook Express is actually
Arial so it must have been altered at some point. To change it back, or to
Verdana go to Tools > Options and select the Compose tab. Under Compose Font
at the top click Font Settings, make your selection and click OK.
Every time I log on to my XP computer I get a message that says
‘Digital Line Detect, Please verify that your phone line is connected to a
standard analogue modem or fax line’. The only way to get rid of it and continue
is to click OK. The computer is directly connected to a broadband modem, which
pre dates this problem.
Steve Duckworth, by email
This message is coming from an obscure utility called BVRP Phone
Tools, and specifically a program called Dlg.exe, which is set to launch at
boot up. It turns up on some Dell PCs and is also bundled with a number
Connexant and Broadcom dial-up modems. Since you are using broadband you do not
need it so you can stop it launching at start up by going to Run on the Start menu,
type ‘msconfig’ (without the quotes), select the Startup list, uncheck the item
dgl.exe and restart your PC.
© R. Maybury 2009 1603