Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 118 21/08/10


Touch of Bother

I am having problems connecting my iPod Touch to my home wireless network. It used to work but now every time I choose the Wi-Fi network name from the list and select Join I am asked to enter my network code. This I do, and then it tells me it is unable to connect. I bought it when the iPod Touch first came out and it hasn’t been used for a while. Could there be a problem with the software not having been updated recently?

Jenny Roberts, by email


I doubt very much that it’s a software issue. The first thing to do is check the iPod’s time and date settings. If the battery ran down it’s probably showing January 2000 or something similar and this can cause connection problems. If it is correct select the connection’s Properties icon (the middle one), click ‘Forget this connection’ then go back, rescan for networks and try again. Finally, switch off all of the PC’s or laptops that connect to your network (and don’t forget your iPod Touch), then switch off the router. Switch the router on again and when the Internet light is lit up or steady fire up the iPod Touch on and have another go. 


Xbox to PC?

Is it possible to run and play an Xbox 360 through a computer and monitor screen? I have been getting a lot of conflicting advice as to whether this is possible.

Colin Holton, by email


You can access the Internet and multimedia files on your PC with your Xbox through a network connection – for more information go to http://tinyurl.com/3xubj3w and there’s nothing to stop you linking it up to a standard PC monitor, instead of a TV. You may even notice an improvement in picture quality. All you need is an Xbox to VGA cable. These are readily available online and from games shops; prices start at around £7.50. Later models with HDMI sockets can connect directly to suitably equipped TVs and monitors with a standard HDMI cable. By the way, if you are using an Xbox to VGA lead you will also need a separate audio lead to connect the Xbox to the monitor’s internal speakers, or you could use a pair of ‘active’ or amplified PC speakers.



Obsolete Password Program

A handy program called Oubliette worked well on my Windows XP computer, but evidently it is incompatible with Windows 7. Is there any way I can get it to work?

Mike Jarvis, by email


Oubliette was a freeware password database and encryption utility. It was written more than ten years ago, initially for Windows 9x, and later revised for XP so by any reckoning it is getting on a bit. A lot of older programs have problems running under Windows 7 and updating involves a considerable amount of time and effort, so it’s not altogether surprising that the author of this program has decided to call it a day.


Fortunately there are plenty of alternatives. KeePass (http://tinyurl.com/yrwo3h) and Password Safe (http://tinyurl.com/599ob) both look like worthy successors to Oubliette; they are also published under the Open Source agreement so they won’t cost you a bean. 



China Syndrome

When closing down my computer the message ‘monitor going to sleep’ has suddenly been replaced by what look like Chinese characters. Our local PC dealer cannot help, can you advise?

Pat and Garry Tootall, by email


This is not a PC problem; somehow your monitor’s setup menu language has been switched to Chinese, though they may be Japanese or Korean. Refer to the monitor’s handbook to find out how to access the menu. It's usually on one of the buttons on the front, or tucked away on the underside of the screen bezel. If you’ve lost the manual press each button in turn and you’ll eventually find it by trial and error (don’t worry you can’t damage it). Once you’ve found the menu button pressing it again usually (but not always) steps through the menu options and eventually you should see one with a variety of language selections, which you can change back to English.



Risky Repair

My teenage daughter bought a new Windows 7 laptop only 2 months ago with her hard earned savings. Recently, when she switched it on she got the dreaded message 'Operating system not found'. Is this common?  We will of course take it straight back to the shop but I don't want them wiping the drive it as she has all her homework on it. (No backup I'm afraid despite many times of telling…)  Is it possible to save all of her data before we return it? Should we insist on a replacement rather than a repair?

Susan Coleman, Shrewsbury


It could be something or nothing and these days total hard drive failures are comparatively rare. However, if it is going to happen it’s usually in the first few weeks of operation. Either way it requires expert attention and since it is still under warranty this shouldn’t be a problem.


If you are handy with PCs then prior to taking it back to the shop you could try booting the laptop with a ‘live’ Linux CD or USB drive. This is a compact version of the Linux operating system that runs directly from a CD or USB drive so it doesn’t need to be installed on the hard drive. It will tell you straight away if the drive is working; if so you can copy your daughter’s files to a flash drive. You’ll find details of how to make a Linux rescue disc in Boot Camp (http://tinyurl.com/35bn6d5).  


Alternatively the drive can be removed from the laptop and connected to another PC using an external drive caddy or drive reader. Again, if it is working it’s a simple enough matter to copy the files, but be warned that this may invalidate the guarantee.      


If you can’t secure the data yourself then you should make it very clear to the engineer that the drive contains valuable files, so if the drive is working but the operating system cannot be repaired they must first be copied.




© R. Maybury 2010 1207


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