ABC Tower   Weekend Show, 9 December 2007

Tips & Hints

Posted 9 December 2007

Weekend Show, December 2007

With Christmas approaching, the December weekend spot looked at how you should secure your computers over the summer holidays. We also had a look at the new ABC Now application that helps you get more from the ABC's online services.


The ABC has a wide range of resources available online, to help you get more from the vast array of podcasts and programs, ABC Interactive have developed the ABC Now tool.

ABC Now is a free program that can be downloaded from the ABC website. The only question you need to answer is which media player you want to use. We prefer the Real Player option but you can choose to use the built in Windows Media Player.

Unfortunately the current version is Windows only, the Mac version is due out in a few weeks and a Linux version appears to be a long way off.

Listeners questions

We didn't cover as many callers as we'd have liked today so our apologies if you missed out. If you'd like to ask a question, please do so at our IT Queries website.

New computer is slowwwwwww

Eugene had bought a brand new computer and was finding it incredibly slow. It turns out to have been supplied with 512Mb of system memory, of which some 30 has been shared with the video system, giving Windows a total of 480Mb to use.

This is not enough to run Vista. We recommend at least 1Gb and preferably 2Gb for a new computer. We'd recommend John gets back down the shop to see how much 2Gb more will cost.

Irritating pop ups

Sharon was being irritated by constant pops up and her computer was running slow. This almost always indicates a spyware infection. We have detailed instructions on removing spyware at our IT Queries site.

Spyware can be a difficult thing to remove so if it proves too hard, it's important to backup your data and get a technician to have a look at it.

Cannot open Hotmail or Ebay websites

John found he couldn't open Hotmail or Ebay websites while other websites worked fine. There's a couple of problems that can be causing this. We'll start with the obvious.

Clear the cache
Web browsers store a copy of websites they visit to speed up subsequent visits. The idea is that many features of a website don't change between visits so saving the site will save downloading information already on the computer.

Sometimes, one of those downloaded files gets damaged and messes up that website. To fix this, we clear the cache.

In Internet Explorer, click Tools, Internet Options and in the General tab, click the Delete Files button under "Temporary Internet Files". When the confirmation box appears, click tick the "delete Offline files" button and click okay.

Check for spyware
These problems can be spyware related, follow our above advice to Sharon in clearing a spyware infection.

Test your security software
This sort of problem can be caused by an enthusiastic firewall, antivirus program or spyware program. Try disabling your security programs for a minute and try connecting without them running. If you can access the pages, then you'll need to contact the program vendor to add the websites to the program's trusted list.

Download the latest Java engine
Sometimes these problems are caused by a damaged Java installation. This can be fixed by downloading and installing the latest Java installation. When you download it, choose not to bother with unnecessary extras like the Google toolbar.

Update the Windows Scripting Host
The Windows Scripting Host is another program that can mess up. To fix this, download and install the latest Windows Scripting Host. You'll need to restart the computer after running the installation program.

Logged in as another user

Pam receives a message warning her that another user is logged into her computer when she goes to shut it down. While this could be a spyware problem, it's more likely some errant software is tying up the computer.

We'd certainly recommend scanning for spyware and if nothing is found then it's process of elimination to find the culprit. The best way is to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to bring up the task manager. Once that is up, click on processes. The third column will show which users are using which process.

If all the users look correct then shut down programs to see which one is causing the problem. Likely villains, are MS Outlook, Outlook Express/Windows Mail, Microsoft Word and Acrobat Reader.

When you do find the problem program, then we would recommend updating that program and if the problem still persists contacting the vendor.

Upcoming shows

Our apologies to callers we couldn't get to, if you'd still like to ask a question visit our IT Queries website. We don't have any spots for 2008 currently scheduled but we will have some spots over summer, we'll let subscribers to our newsletter know as soon as we do.
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