virus screen   702 Weekend, 19 May 2001

Tips & Hints

Posted 20 May 2001

The World Wide Web turned ten years old on 17 May 2001 and what a strange, twisted ten year old it is. The Web is not the Internet, the Internet is the network of computers linked together and that was developed in the late 60's. The World Wide Web is just one service of dozens that run on the Internet.

We also mentioned that computer hardware prices are dropping as manufacturers find themselves holding too much stock. Palm computer are the latest to make such an announcement. If you are looking at upgrading or buying a new computer now is a good time.

The latest virus have taken the term "viral marketing" to another level. The Homepage and Mawanella viruses are actually vehicles for displaying web sites or political messages. They do no damage, just display their wares then send themselves to everybody in your Outlook address book. The rules about keeping your virus checker up to date and being cautious about opening attachments are still the best defence against viruses.

Kids can also do a lot of damage to computers and when it is your home business computer it is not funny. It is a very good idea to get a second computer if you have a home office. But give the kids the new computer, their games are probably going to be more demanding than your office software. And if your computer is the slowest in the house, it will probably be left alone.

Word crashing on startup

Fleur from Stanmore can't open Microsoft Word documents. Corrupted Word templates are very common and Word uses the normal template to create a blank page when it starts. Renaming or deleting the template usually clears startup problems. A computer cleanup may also help.

Fax modem starts with computer

Glenn has a fax modem that tries to answer the phone whenever the computer is on. There will be a setting within the program to turn off the automatic answer. If this doesn't work open msconfig (start, run, type msconfig) and in the startup section take the tick off the program that controls the fax. Using your computer to receive faxes is always a problem unless you have a phone line set aside for the fax line.

Computer freezing

Don's computer is freezing whenever he leaves it for a while. The problem is almost certainly the power saving functions. To fix this disable power settings and screen savers within the Control Panel. If the problem continues it may be the BIOS settings that are causing the problem, this will require a computer technician to look at the computer.

Hard drive misbehaving

Gerald from Forbes had a Seagate 20Gb hard drive that runs Linux with no problems but Windows 98 and 2000 will not load. Problems like are usually a driver and it may be necessary during the installation to load the Windows drivers. It is also worthwhile checking the BIOS settings that nothing odd is selected and using the IDE cable that was supplied with the motherboard. Creating a partition of less than 8Gb may help.

System freezes

Geoff has a computer that freezes regularly. It is probably a game that is causing the problem although it could be a full hard drive. Uninstall all the unnecessary or unused programs and clean up the computer. If it is a full hard drive ask the kids what games can go. It may be time for an upgrade.

Outlook Express crashes

Janine's Outlook Express is crashing when it goes on line. This is possibly a corrupt inbox or a corrupt message in the outbox. Remove anything that is in the outbox and see it the problem goes away. If it doesn't, copy any important mail into another folder, close Outlook Express, do a search for inbox.mbx and delete it. A new inbox will be created when you restart.

Colour washed out

Ron has a computer that has washed out colour. To check what your colour settings are open the Control Panel, click Display and go to the Settings section, you will find the colour settings their. When you only have the 16 colours setting available it means that Windows has a problem with your video card. The simplest solution is to download the latest drivers for the video card, although cheap cards are less than $50.00 so it may be simpler just to replace the card.

Once again we had a full board of callers and our apologies to those who we couldn't get to. We will be back on again next month. In the meantime visit our tips pages for useful help on getting the most from your computer.

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