Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 128,30/10/10


Update Downfall

My desktop PC uses Windows Vista Home Premium. For about three weeks now Microsoft has been trying to install important updates. These attempts always fail with what is described as an unknown error with the code 80070057 given as the reason for failure. Do you have any ideas about the possible cause of this problem and, more importantly a solution?

John Rose, by email


This particular update is a Service Pack for Microsoft’s NET Framework and there doesn’t seem to be any single reason why it fails, but it has been happening to a lot of people recently. There is, however a simple workaround that usually manages to unblock this type of logjam and that’s to bypass Windows automatic Update and download and install the file manually. In this case go to: http://tinyurl.com/36zdsbf, save the file to your Desktop and when the download has finished right-click on it, select Install and hopefully this time it should work.



IPhone Lost Images

Do you know if it is possible to retrieve photos recently deleted from an iPhone 3GS? My autistic son got hold of my phone before I'd had a chance to upload photos I took at a family reunion and he deleted every one.

Deborah Brown, by email


It can be done but it’s not going to be easy, or cheap, and by the way, don’t take any more photos as they may overwrite the deleted images, which should still be on the phone. Several companies provide iPhone recovery services but these can be quite expensive so I would hold them in reserve and consider the DIY options first. A number of shareware applications claim to be able recover deleted data but those I am aware of are not really suitable for novices, moreover most of them appear only to work on iPhones that have been jailbroken. A better prospect is a program called iPhone Data Recovery  (http://tinyurl.com/38nmgtc). This is a paid-for application but you can try a free demo version that will tell you if anything can be retrieved. If you want to go ahead you have to pay for the licence to unlock the recovery feature and this costs just under £24.00. Other possibilities include the iPhone Spy Stick (http://tinyurl.com/3ao8p83) and iPhone Recovery Stick (http://tinyurl.com/2webso2). These are USB devices that use forensic recovery software to bypass the phones security and encryption systems and create a PC readable image or copy of the contents of the drive. This includes not only stored and recently deleted photos but also text messages, contacts call history and much more. They both cost around £130, and should be a warning to anyone who thinks that the data on their iPhone is safe.  



What’s the Catch with Free Anti-Virus?

My current subscription with a well-known anti-virus program is about to expire. Friends have told me that it is possible to download free protection from the Internet. This sounds tempting and I would like to know if you consider one of these programs to be a good alternative. Also, why would anyone want to provide a free service in this way; what's the catch?

Kay Borsberry, by email


I have always relied on free antivirus software and to date, touch wood, nothing serious has got past my defences, and believe me, I get sent a lot of viruses and come across a lot of malware... There’s very little difference in the level of protection provided by the commercial software and the better free security applications but the paid-for products tend to cover more ground with extra bells and whistles like built-in malware scanners. Powerful freeware anti-malware programs are available but you have to download and install them separately.


However, the most important difference is the level of support and that’s what you are really paying for, usually with someone who can assist you directly over the phone or by email. With freeware if you get into trouble you have seek it out for yourself but there’s usually plenty of help and information online, on the AV company’s website and in user forums. Of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch and most freeware products periodically encourage you to upgrade to a paid-for program with more features but for most home users who take all the usual precautions, freeware protection is usually more than adequate. Even Microsoft has got in on the act with it’s free Security Essentials suite, and very good it is too; links to this and other fine freeware security programs can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/27txx2



Switch Off And Save

We have recently purchased a PC operating Windows 7 Professional. If we are away for, say, three weeks, is it safe to switch everything off at the mains?  Will all the information be held safely on the system?

Carol Kemp, by email


Don’t worry; the computer’s operating system, programs, files and your saved data are all stored on the PC’s hard disc drive. In the trade this is known as a non-volatile medium, which basically means it can retain information for many years, possibly several decades, without the need for a connection to a power source.



Boxing Clever

I have a Dell laptop running Windows 7 and would like to install on it a DOS-based stock control and accounting package, which I have been running in Windows XP on desktop computers.  I am now going mobile and need to be able to use the program when I am away my home office. Is there any way to persuade Widows 7 to recognise the program?  I have an external drive for the 3.5" floppy disks of the program.

Peter Cox, by email


Windows 7 and Vista before it has no inbuilt support for DOS but there is a solution. I suggest a free Open Source DOS Emulator called DOSBox (http://tinyurl.com/6hs79p), which allows DOS programs to run inside Windows. It’s by no means perfect and a few programs, games in particular, don’t get on with it but I don’t think it will be a problem in your case so it is definitely worth trying.




© R. Maybury 2010 0410


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