Nightlife 3 January 2002

Tips & Hints

Posted 8 January 2002

We’re straight back into the new year with the Nightlife show on January 3. Paul and Tim Cox discussed the SUFLNBK urban myth, upgrading computers and the economics to choosing between Laptops and desktops.

James has a Pentium III with a 2Gb partition which keeps running out of space.

By today's standards 2GB is an unrealistically small partition. Not so long ago it was huge. DOS and the first versions of Windows 95 could only handle 2Gb.

Today a 2Gb partition is a pain, a system will almost always be running out of space. A short-term solution is to move the temporary directories and the swap files to another partition. But it will continue to be a problem.

The two permanent solutions are to wipe the drive and repartition it or use a utility like Partition Magic to change the size of the partition without destroying the data. Regardless of the promises, you should always backup your data before playing with partitions.

Lucy’s printer stopped.

Like all computer problems, troubleshooting an errant printer is a matter of elimination. First, turn both the computer and printer off, leave them for five minutes then turn the printer on followed by the computer.

When the computer starts, you may be told the computer has some print jobs waiting. If so, cancel them. When everything is up and running try printing again.

If the problem reappears, try printing something else from another application. It could be the program or even a specific document.

If the printer has lights flashing this indicates some sort of problem with the printer. Check the printer manual for what the flashing lights mean.

It is always a good idea to have the latest drivers for any computer device. A driver is the software that allows the computer to talk to the device. These can usually be downloaded from the manufacturers website.

Wendy lost her payroll and cannot recover from a backup disk.

Like the printer problem, this problem is specific to the software. It is going to be a matter of contacting the software company or having a good look through the manual.

As a general rule, backups should be tested regularly. Take one of the disks or tapes and restore it. Be careful you don’t destroy the current data. Again, read the manual and understand how your backup works. It could save you thousands of dollars.

Bob had a Windows ME Magistr infection.

Magistr is a nasty virus we are seeing too much of. The best solution we can offer (short of visiting) is to download and use Anti-Vir. It is important to clean this virus as soon as possible as it will damage program files. If you do have a serious infection then will probably be necessary to reinstall most of your software.

Once again we had a full switchboard and were unable to get through to all callers. Hope you can catch us next time on Nightlife on ABC Local Radio across Australia or the Weekend show on ABC Local Radio in NSW. Happy computing.

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