Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 302 29/03/14


Cracking Good Advice

My Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphone suffered a nasty tumble recently. The glass screen has cracked, but the touch display still works and seems unaffected. Stupidly I didn’t insure it and I have been quoted £200 to have it repaired. I found replacement glass screens on the Internet selling for £10, but there is conflicting advice on how to fit them. Is this something that a DIYer, could do?

Malcolm Harding, by email


The YouTube videos make it look easy but it is actually fiendishly difficult. The glass cover is bonded to the LCD touch screen or digitizer module with a powerful adhesive. The only way to separate the parts is soften the glue using a hair dryer or hot air paint stripper gun. The temperature needs to be almost 200 degrees C, and very carefully monitored before gently prising apart. Apply too much heat or leave it too long and you will destroy the digitizer, and if you prise too early you will crack the LCD. Even if you manage to get them apart the chances of refitting a new glass without trapping unsightly air bubbles or specks of dust are very small. In short it is just not worth the effort. Shop around, there are plenty of companies offering to fit new glass to the S4, typically for less than £100. If you want to have a go at fixing it yourself then replace the screen and digitizer as a complete assembly. Amazon and ebay sell them for between £100 and £140, with the necessary tools included. It still involves a fair bit of fiddling around, with tiny screws and small parts but if you follow the instructions and take it slowly, you should be successful. You may even be able to recoup some of the cost as a working digitizer, even one with a cracked screen, has some value for refurbishment and sell for around £20 on ebay.


On The Go Glitch

Your recent advice on how to access images on an SD card on a Tesco Hudl tablet, using an On The Go cable and card reader was helpful. However, if I use a USB stick instead of an SD card, when I remove it, I get a message ‘SD card removed unexpectedly’, and a USB drive is not be recognised unless I restart the tablet. Is it possible to safely remove and insert USB sticks, without having to switch off every time? Tesco think not.

Max Whitehead, by email


Tesco is essentially correct, though there are exceptions and there is an app that can help; more on that in a moment. Not all USB sticks are affected but there is definitely a problem on older types, with a capacity of 4Gb or less. Newer and larger sticks (8Gb and above), especially those from well-known brands such as SanDisk, can be plugged and unplugged with impunity, without the Hudl minding. There is clearly something in the most recent firmware used on these sticks, which needs further investigation and there may well be a simple workaround but for the moment the best solution is an app called OTG Disk Explorer Lite, free from Google Play. Once installed the trick is to run the app, without the USB drive connected, then plug it into the OTG socket and when it asks to be allowed to access the device, click OK. Hudl still objects when the stick is removed but there is no need to restart and you can open another stick using OTG Disk Explorer.  


Reviving Vista

Whenever I run System Restore on my Vista PC it concludes with the error message, ‘System Restore did not complete successfully. How can I restore System Restore?

David Forbes, by email


One or more of the saved Restore Points (RPs) may be corrupt. Turning System Restore off and back on erases all of the stored RPs and it should be useable once again. To do that go to Start > Control Panel > System & Security > System > System Protection, select your main drive, click the Configure button then Turn off system protection and click OK. Reboot the PC, go back to the System Restore Configure menu, turn it back on again and set a new Restore Point.


Black Market Bargain?

I recently imported a Cubot GT99 smartphone from China. I have fitted it with an Ovivo SIM card, which works well for phone and texts. I can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi but I have been unable to get it work with mobile broadband. I queried this with Ovivo and was disappointed with their response, ‘…we are unable to provide support for Cubot products as they are black market devices’. I cannot believe that this hi tech phone is unable to perform this important function.

Paul Jackson, by email


If you choose to go off-road when buying a mobile phone do not be surprised if there are some bumps along the way. This attractively priced smartphone has an eye-catching spec but it has received mixed reviews, mostly as a result of it not being designed for, or properly configured for use on mobile networks outside of China. The most common complaint concerns the GPS function and this can be fixed with a software update, but the mobile broadband connectivity problem is more complicated. Several mobile networks have decided not to support phones that they do not supply, are not officially marketed or have no service backup in the UK. It might be possible to get mobile broadband to work on another network (try a Virgin or GiffGaff SIM card), but only after carrying out a full factory reset and manually setting the network’s APN (Access Point Name) server address. However, online forums and reviews suggest that there may still be problems with poor signal strength and intermittent connections, which appear to stem from the design of the antenna. In the end, though, the best way to avoid problems of this type is to stick with UK-based phone suppliers and networks.


© R. Maybury 2014 1003

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