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View Full Version : For anyone who hates computers (and maybe those who know how to fix them)


jess_hawk
12-07-2007, 02:33 AM
I've been having computer problems. I know its not a virus because I have about three anti-virus programs (which took me a month to convince them all that they weren't all viruses themselves) and because I took it into the store a couple weeks ago and they ran diagnostics for hardware and software, and a virus check. Their conclusion? There is nothing wrong with my computer.
Yes, apparently nothing is wrong when computers randomly won't start (particularly the day an essay is due, when you haven't printed yet). It isn't overheating because that causes it to die, but it restarts perfectly fine. Its almost like there's a loose connection and everything comes on but the screen - even the "Wireless connection is working" light comes on.
Also, MP3 files are no longer valid audio files. This means that the research I did this semester to augment my pitiful data set from last semester is completely useless, because my computer won't recognize the file (I used the same recorder, the same method, last year, and they loaded fine).
When the store ran diagnostics, they somehow made it so that my background wouldn't show up when the icons were present, but I finally fixed that.
And today, while I was out of town, the start menu mysteriously relocated itself vertically along the right side of the screen. I have yet to figure out how to return it to the bottom.

So who else hates computers? (Or does anyone know how to fix this!?)

bree
12-07-2007, 02:44 AM
I've been having computer problems. I know its not a virus because I have about three anti-virus programs (which took me a month to convince them all that they weren't all viruses themselves) and because I took it into the store a couple weeks ago and they ran diagnostics for hardware and software, and a virus check. Their conclusion? There is nothing wrong with my computer.
Yes, apparently nothing is wrong when computers randomly won't start (particularly the day an essay is due, when you haven't printed yet). It isn't overheating because that causes it to die, but it restarts perfectly fine. Its almost like there's a loose connection and everything comes on but the screen - even the "Wireless connection is working" light comes on.
Also, MP3 files are no longer valid audio files. This means that the research I did this semester to augment my pitiful data set from last semester is completely useless, because my computer won't recognize the file (I used the same recorder, the same method, last year, and they loaded fine).
When the store ran diagnostics, they somehow made it so that my background wouldn't show up when the icons were present, but I finally fixed that.
And today, while I was out of town, the start menu mysteriously relocated itself vertically along the right side of the screen. I have yet to figure out how to return it to the bottom.

So who else hates computers? (Or does anyone know how to fix this!?)
Oh I hate computers too. But then again, if I didn't use them, I would never be on this site. So it's pretty much a love-hate thing. Can't live with em, can't live w/o em.

I can empathise with you on the whole losing files for school. As a former and soon-to-be student, the best advice I can give is to save, save, save, and save. Save to your hard drive. Save to your memory card. E-mail it to yourself. E-mail it to a friend. Make sure you have at least 2 copies of everything you need.

I'm not sure I can help you with the other stuff, but the taskbar is easily fixable. All you need to do is click on it, then drag it back down to the bottom of the screen. It may take a few tries, but it will. Once you get it into the position you want, you can right click on it, then select "lock the taskbar" and it will never move again. Your taskbar must have inadvertently been dragged to the side. This happened to me when my dad used my laptop. I noticed in the past that when he used the mouse, he'd press on one of the buttons even before opening the lid.

I hope this helps.

Knitting_Guy
12-07-2007, 10:50 AM
It sounds like a combination of problems.

Firstly, it does sound like you have a hardware problem. The most likely culprit would be a loose solder connection on the power supply board. Could be on some other board, like the video board (but I doubt it). Don't fault your computer shop too much as intermittent problems can be very difficult to locate and repair.

Secondly, it sounds like the OS itself is at least partially corrupted. You may need to back up all of your personal data files and reinstall the OS. I'd recommend wiping the drive and doing a clean install to ensure the OS related problems are completely removed.

The best way I know to locate the source of the intermittent problem, assuming it's some loose connection point, is to open up the unit and, while it is running, gently tap around the various boards with a well insulated plastic tool (screwdriver handle, etc). Do NOT use the metal end. I know that seems obvious but I have seen people do it.

If there is a loose connection the tapping should cause the problem to appear. Then you know what board needs to be replaced.

cristeen
12-07-2007, 02:33 PM
I'm assuming you're running Windows... XP? Is this a laptop or a regular box?

The audio file thing might be an easy fix, or it might be a difficult fix. Let me pull up a Win box to walk you through the easy fix.

Double click on My Computer. Pull down Tools, Folder Options. Switch to the tab "File Type". Scroll through the list until you find the audio file type you're looking for (MP3). Select it. On the bottom half there should be a line that says "Opens with: XXXX" Mine says Windows Media Player. What does yours say? If its not what you want it to say, click the Change button and select a different program. If MP3 is not in the list, then you'll need to add it. Click the New button, type MP3 and then associate it with the program you want.

If it is already correctly set, then you're looking at one of a couple other options. A- whatever program/device you used to create the file did it wrong. (Right click on the file, pull up properties. What is the file type? If it doesn't have the correct extension it will be unrecognizable.) B- whatever program/devise you used is no longer compatible or needs an update. C- the file is corrupt. The first two can be dealt with, the third can't really. There may be other options, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

As for the starting/restarting problem, does it shut itself down? Do you see a blue screen (BSOD) when it does that? Or will it just not boot? From your description it sounds like you're on a laptop? If the screen doesn't come up on boot then it's probably a screen connection that is loose, which is not uncommon in laptops, the wires in the hinge can get worn over time. With a desktop it's a little more odd. If it's shutting itself down randomly without a BSOD, then it's a hardware problem. And it could be any number of things. The last 2 times I ran across this, once I had to replace my motherboard, and once the power supply (power surge melted them). If you ARE getting a BSOD, then it's a software or software/hardware problem. The error message you get on the BSOD will give you clue where to start looking. Write it down next time it appears so you can google it.

HTH

Knitting_Guy
12-07-2007, 03:02 PM
I missed the wireless part Doh!

If it's a notebook ignore everything I wrote about opening it up. You really don't want to go there unless you really know what you're doing.

jess_hawk
12-07-2007, 03:52 PM
Thanks everybody! I'm off to class at the moment, but I'll try out suggestions when I get back!

jess_hawk
12-07-2007, 06:40 PM
I'm assuming you're running Windows... XP? Is this a laptop or a regular box?

The audio file thing might be an easy fix, or it might be a difficult fix. Let me pull up a Win box to walk you through the easy fix.

Double click on My Computer. Pull down Tools, Folder Options. Switch to the tab "File Type". Scroll through the list until you find the audio file type you're looking for (MP3). Select it. On the bottom half there should be a line that says "Opens with: XXXX" Mine says Windows Media Player. What does yours say? If its not what you want it to say, click the Change button and select a different program. If MP3 is not in the list, then you'll need to add it. Click the New button, type MP3 and then associate it with the program you want.

If it is already correctly set, then you're looking at one of a couple other options. A- whatever program/device you used to create the file did it wrong. (Right click on the file, pull up properties. What is the file type? If it doesn't have the correct extension it will be unrecognizable.) B- whatever program/devise you used is no longer compatible or needs an update. C- the file is corrupt. The first two can be dealt with, the third can't really. There may be other options, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

As for the starting/restarting problem, does it shut itself down? Do you see a blue screen (BSOD) when it does that? Or will it just not boot? From your description it sounds like you're on a laptop? If the screen doesn't come up on boot then it's probably a screen connection that is loose, which is not uncommon in laptops, the wires in the hinge can get worn over time. With a desktop it's a little more odd. If it's shutting itself down randomly without a BSOD, then it's a hardware problem. And it could be any number of things. The last 2 times I ran across this, once I had to replace my motherboard, and once the power supply (power surge melted them). If you ARE getting a BSOD, then it's a software or software/hardware problem. The error message you get on the BSOD will give you clue where to start looking. Write it down next time it appears so you can google it.

HTH
I am on a laptop, its an HP Pavilion, running Windows XP if I'm not mistaken.
The program I was using for analysis has expired (its called Raven) and I'm calling my research on account of time being way past up (I ran a full semester longer than I wanted to). There is another girl who is going to try the same equipment and if she runs into the same problem and it doesn't work maybe there is a problem with the recorder. My computer will now open MP3 files in WMP (I checked using your directions) so I'm OK with that. I just can't analyze them, lol!
When it won't start, it started out being I would leave for class or dinner and leave my computer running (which has never caused problems previously) and it would go into sleep mode. When I would come back it would be off (not responsive to moving the mouse/finger pad) and when I hit the power button, all the lights on the keyboard portion of the computer come on, accompanied with the typical "computer-starting-whir," but nothing comes up on screen.
The IT people at school suggested a loose/worn connection also, and Best Buy claims that wouldn't happen. I didn't believe them (BB) then, and I don't believe them now.

Also, I fixed the start bar and locked it, THANK YOU!
And, I promise I'm not going to go messing around inside my laptop... the very thought scares me.
Thanks for your support, everybody. I've been terribly frustrated and don't have any techy friends in town at the moment to help me out.
Oh, and we're planning to mindwipe my computer and maybe get an external harddrive before I go to Australia next semester.

Knitting_Guy
12-07-2007, 06:53 PM
The IT people at school suggested a loose/worn connection also, and Best Buy claims that wouldn't happen. I didn't believe them (BB) then, and I don't believe them now.

That is the single most common notebook failure. The monitor connections are through the hinges and are basically just a ribbon cable. They do eventually wear out and have to be replaced, and can actually work loose.

The power connection point is also a very common failure.

jess_hawk
12-09-2007, 02:26 AM
hehe, well I'll loose my daddy on them, and he will set them straight. We're going in to bother them after finals are over.

Rorshach
12-09-2007, 05:57 AM
If it's still under warranty, the loose power connection could be fixed, I seriously doubt the power supply itself is hosed, as you mentioned that it restarts just fine. If it is a loose connection, wiggling the cable where it connects to your laptop should produce the issue, the downside is, that would mean that the mainboard would need to be replaced. Also most laptops come so the hard drive can be removed fairly easy, if that's the case you might change out the hard drive with another, if you have one available. Though I would have to agree with you on most BB techs, they just aren't worth their salt at times.

Knitting_Guy
12-09-2007, 09:47 AM
If it is a loose connection, wiggling the cable where it connects to your laptop should produce the issue, the downside is, that would mean that the mainboard would need to be replaced.

Actually the power socket can be replaced without replacing the whole board. I've replaced several of them.

Though I would have to agree with you on most BB techs, they just aren't worth their salt at times.

Most of those 'techs' at BB aren't techs, just higher level sales people. I wouldn't let them change a watch battery.

HamaLee
12-09-2007, 12:42 PM
Also--even though software may not be your issue at this juncture--it's generally not a good idea to have multiple virus/adware/spyware software loaded and running simultaneously. As you noticed, they'll recognize each other as malware and interfere with one another. Have just one good virus program that you trust and then a good anti-spyware program. Avast! is a free anti-virus program that many seem to like (can't remember if they have anti spyware as well), AVG as well (though I can't remember if they have a free version). Ad-aware is reasonable for spyware, and I think SpyDoctor. I really hope I'm remember the correct names here...as many of the free "anti" programs are loaded with malware themselves. HijackThis! is good but you need to really know how to use it (or post your logs to a good forum for help).

Goodluck!
Cnet is a good place to find some articles.

jess_hawk
12-09-2007, 02:48 PM
Also--even though software may not be your issue at this juncture--it's generally not a good idea to have multiple virus/adware/spyware software loaded and running simultaneously. As you noticed, they'll recognize each other as malware and interfere with one another. Have just one good virus program that you trust and then a good anti-spyware program. Avast! is a free anti-virus program that many seem to like (can't remember if they have anti spyware as well), AVG as well (though I can't remember if they have a free version). Ad-aware is reasonable for spyware, and I think SpyDoctor. I really hope I'm remember the correct names here...as many of the free "anti" programs are loaded with malware themselves. HijackThis! is good but you need to really know how to use it (or post your logs to a good forum for help).

Goodluck!
Cnet is a good place to find some articles.

My parents originally paid for Norton and Spysweeper b/c that's what they use, but this year when it expired, they didn't renew it for me and I can't afford it, so I have a free anti-virus and a free anti-spyware that I got on the rec. of a friend who actually knows his stuff (but would want to actually have his hands on my 'puter before helping with this one, and he lives out of town). I haven't removed the Norton and Spysweeper b/c I'm hoping to convince my parents to pay for it again, then I can delete the free stuff. The other one I have somewhere around here (unless one of the others deleted it) is the anti-virus required by my school in order to use their internet. At the moment they don't create too many problems for each other (ie they aren't claiming each other as infections). So its not as bad as it seems.

HamaLee
12-09-2007, 04:47 PM
:thumbsup:
You're all good then. I was just going off your original post where you said you had several programs going (and I thought you said running) and that it took you a long time to convince them not to flag each other as malware.
If you end up not being able to renew with Symantec, some of the free ones really are quite good. I haven't had any problems (fingers crossed). :teehee:

jess_hawk
12-10-2007, 12:35 AM
Yeah at first they didn't like each other (Norton and Symantec particularly didn't like the one my school requires). That took some working out. The new ones haven't caused problems, though.

Thanks all!

HamaLee
12-10-2007, 11:40 AM
Yeah at first they didn't like each other (Norton and Symantec particularly didn't like the one my school requires). That took some working out. The new ones haven't caused problems, though.

Anti-virus programs are kinda like middle school girl popularity cliques, causing trouble if you wear a ponytail too many days in a row.:teehee:

Norton and Symantec are all "oooh we don't like you new school-software, we're elite and your code is a designer knock-off!"

And the school software is all "step-off @#$% I'll start a revolution!! And maybe sneak Ex-lax into your hot cocoa!"

And um....HamaLee maybe needs more sleep! :oo: :roflhard:

auburnchick
12-10-2007, 11:48 AM
Since Norton has run out, I would uninstall it. Don't bother renewing -- my humble recommendation. It is a terrible memory hog and puts a heavy drain on system resources. I've been a fan of it for years, but my computers at home started slowing down so badly that I actually uninstalled it before the subscription was over. I installed Avira (http://www.free-av.com/) for anti-virus protection and AVG (http://free.grisoft.com/) for spyware protection. They are free, and they work great!

auburnchick
12-10-2007, 11:49 AM
And the school software is all "step-off @#$% I'll start a revolution!! And maybe sneak Ex-lax into your hot cocoa!"
And um....HamaLee maybe needs more sleep! :oo: :roflhard:

How did you go from Norton to exlax?? :??

Were you writing 20-page papers this weekend too??? ;)

Girlfriend...go back to bed!
:chair:

jess_hawk
12-10-2007, 02:30 PM
lol!
While Norton, Symantec, and the school program (can't remember what it was, its wandering about my computer somewhere...) were having their little gang war, I was doing the tribal war dance of the irrate college students. There were feathers and sharp pointy metal objects and stuff.
Apparently that whole ordeal is some kind of college fresher right-of-passage because a couple of my friends were having the same issues. Once all of the rest of us had it figured out, the engineering student figured out how to circumvent the system so that he didn't have to have the school anti-virus. oh well.

Knitting_Guy
12-10-2007, 02:45 PM
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/icons

cristeen
12-10-2007, 02:51 PM
Since Norton has run out, I would uninstall it. Don't bother renewing -- my humble recommendation.

I completely agree. The new version of Norton is such a memory hog that my DH's new machine with 8Gbs of RAM was running slower than his old machine with 1Gb. And since Norton stops supporting the older versions, you'd be stuck. It can't be uninstalled, Google "Norton Removal" and you should get the link for the online tool that will remove it for you.

And for my money, McAfee isn't much better than Norton.

We have switched our Windows machines over to Nod32 and have been very happy with it. A full system scan with Nod only takes about 30 minutes, whereas a full system scan with Norton might take all night. It also doesn't eat your system resources when it's updating like Norton and McAfee do.

auburnchick
12-10-2007, 05:22 PM
Google "Norton Removal" and you should get the link for the online tool that will remove it for you.


Yes. Very good point! I forgot all about that! Norton is a real bear to uninstall.

I also recommend downloading CCleaner (http://www.ccleaner.com/) to clean up your registry when you're done. It's a wonderful, free tool that I use to clean our computers at work.

jess_hawk
12-11-2007, 03:36 AM
Great tips everyone!
Love the icon war, too!