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Nightlife 13 June 2008

For our Friday the 13th edition of Nightlife Computers. We looked at the end of the desktop computer, free laptop deals and some problems with service packs.

If you are moving up to service pack 3 for Windows XP or service pack 1 for Vista be aware of problems with some of the anti-virus programs. It appears their protection routines are messing with the upgrade. You should turn off any anti virus before installing these updates.

Telsra, Optus and TPG are all offering cheap or free laptops if you're prepared to sign up for a long term mobile data plan. Our advice with all of these packages is to cost them out carefully. There's no such thing as a free lunch or a free laptop.

In our view, with the changes currently happening in both the computer hardware and mobile Internet markets, you'd have rocks in your head to sign up to a long term plan.

Callers questions

As usual we had a broad range of callers. One big theme was problems in networking computers. We opened with Gail's question.

Getting computers to talk

Rita can't get two Windows XP computers to talk. They tell her she doesn't have permission to access resources on one of the systems.

There are a number of problems that can cause this from Windows settings to firewalls and we've put a detailed description of the fixes on our IT Queries website.


On the topic of firewalls, Michael had a question about replacing Sygate Personal Firewall. Sygate is still available despite Symantec taking it over and discontinuing it. If Sygate's working on your Windows XP or earlier PC then we'd recommend sticking with it.

While Sygate's still a perfectly good firewall it hasn't been updated for years and is probably no good on Vista systems. Melbourne based PC Tools has a Vista compatible free firewall program.

Virus infections

Ryan called about virus infections where he suspects his computer is infected and is finding his computer is reinfected when he restarts.

We have instructions on removing a Trojan or virus on our IT Queries website but this infection sounds pretty severe and we'd recommend reformatting your system when confronted with these problems.

Windows Document Viewer popping up on startup

Chris called about Windows Document Viewer popping up on startup. To turn this off run MSCONFIG and turn off any thing relating to it to the viewer or anything that doesn't look useful.

Upcoming spots

The next Nightlife spot is scheduled for 10pm on July 18. We hope you can join us then. If you'd like to be kept up to date with our ABC schedules and other computer issues then please subscribe to our newsletter.



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©Technology Publishing Australia, 2008