Computer Repair and PC Support across the UK
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Member since 22nd Dec 2007
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Having just had a similar issue with a BT HomeHub, I would always recommend removing the (largely superfluous) additional wireless software and use the Windows in-built stuff. That way you have less to troubleshoot. Windows will not find any wireless networks if other software is installed and controlling it instead (as previously stated). The sky setup is supposed to make things easy - as was the BT CD. Myself - I can't see how following the setup of Windows (which is the same for EVERYONE running Windows...) is not the easiest method.
I sometimes have a problem with my laptop using a wireless connection, in that the connection will sometimes just drop. We had the problem badly using a Sky provided router, and this has gotten much better when replaced by a Draytek one. However, I still get the occasional wireless drop, and the quickest resolve is to switch the wireless off for about 5 seconds, and then switch it back on. I still do not know why this is, although I have suspicions that it is related to Intel wireless cards - unfortunately these account for probably 85% of the internal laptop wireless cards in use today.
Try (gently) wiggling the cable where it joins your laptop. If the screen flickers, it is almost certainly a bad connection there. I am assuming that when you changed the monitor that you changed the VGA cable at the same time? IE not using an extension cable or anything like that - as these symptoms could easily be explained by a bent pin in a VGA connector, that somehow has been used with both monitors?
You may need to be a bit more specific about what you are clicking, what you are expecting and what you are seeing. However, overall it sounds like you might have a corrupt Internet Explorer or something along those lines. I would start by trying to re-install that, and otherwise try Firefox as a superb alternative to IE.
Personally I am not often impressed by Dell. I don't know what it is exactly about them, and even with an accout manager giving me good pricing, their kit just seems to be - slower. HP/Compaq tend to do some pretty good stuff generally, they seem to be sturdy and robust. Acer are generally 'more lovely' for home users, I don't think they are really business machines. One thing to watch out for in Business use is the version of Windows. If you are using a Windows Server (2000/2003/2008 etc) then you absolutely will want to get XP PRO (not home) or Vista Business (not Home) to add the PC to the domain. A lot of business are sticking with XP Pro because it seems so much more efficient than Vista is generally. If you have any further specifically business requirements then I would be more than happy to talk to you about them - it's what I do day-in, day-out.
Hi Alan, Computer - yes. Laptop - not really, new laptops that are worth their weight cost upwards of £700, before you re-purchase any software that you need (such as Microsoft Office) because either it is OEM version, or it no longer works on the new OS. I would expect the breakdown of a laptop motherboard repair/replacement to look something like this; Diagnose: £50 Replacement motherboard (source and fit), or time to repair existing board: £200 Collection/Delivery (assuming a send-away repair is required): £50 So I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a £300 bill. If it comes out less - brilliant, but it is better to be prepared for the worst?
Under the Microsoft Vista Downgrade Rights you are allowed to install Windows XP if you are running Vista Business or Ultimate (see http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/f/4/5f4c83d3-833e-4f11-8cbd-699b0c164182/royaltyoemreferencesheet.pdf) Now, you are running Home Premium, so you don't qualify. However, you could purchase the 'Anytime Upgrade' to Vista Ultimate, and then downgrade to XP. That way, you have the top version of Vista for when you are ready to up to Vista, if this is something you might want to do later. It's just an alternative option. I have never exercised the right to use XP under a Vista license, so I don't actually know how easy/difficult it is to do so (such as where you get hold of the installation media from). Jon
Hi John, SBS2003 is a very powerful server platform, despite what some people might say. It offers not just file and print sharing, but remote access, powerful Exchange email server (including remote email and email on your mobile), and a central point for things like Windows Updates and Antivirus management - can you tell that I am a great believer in SBS? If you want to continue with SBS (and I would definately recommend doing so if you have more than about 4 users on the network), then it is definately worth getting to know it better. Some of the REQUIREMENTS of SBS are that the server is installed as a domain controller, so really the answer to your question from that sense is NO. You would need to purchase Windows Server 2003 Standard Server, and thus new CALs for it. Adding Windows 2000 and XP (pro) clients to the domain should be fairly easy, if you understand how it all works. Macs are slightly more complex but it is still achievable, and I believe it is easier to connect a Mac to an SBS network than a 'Vanilla' Windows Server 2003 domain. If you are interested, I'd be happy to discuss setting up and potentially maintaining this server for you, or in fact any of your server-related questions. Please let me know if you would like any further information from me. Jon
Unless it is as simple as the power button has failed, unfortunately it sounds like the unit is dead. If you want to have it repaired I would get several quotes, but you are probably looking at the better part of £300 for diagnosing, sourcing and fitting a replacement part which I believe is probably the mainboard. If you want to recover the data from the unit, you could remove the hard drive and install it into a USB caddy, which you can plug into a new PC or laptop. Please let me know if you need any further advice. Jonathan
Hi Dave, When you first switch it on (or after you reset), you will sometimes see a message quickly saying 'Press F2 to enter setup'. Sometimes it is 'Press DEL to enter setup' (the key named 'Delete' rather than backspace, which is above the return key). You need to do this and go into setup. Look through the options for 'SMART' option, relating to the hard disk. Quite often SMART is not switched on by default, for reasons that elude me. SMART is the hard-drive Self-monitoring and reporting tool. Once switched on, save and exit from Setup and watch to see if a message appears from smart noting that your hard drive is about to fail. That is my best guess, failing that it could be just that Windows (or whatever OS you run) is corrupt and needs re-installing, maybe that you have a virus, or that you have installed software that slows your PC to this state (I have seen an otherwise ok PC take 30 mins to be useable from boot after Norton 360 was installed). Let us know if that helps or not.
Hi John, I'm sorry to say that it sounds fairly terminal. Are you able to plug the laptop into an external monitor, as you may be able to see something happening on an external screen if your internal one is broken. You may find that it is the backlamp of the screen, in which case you will be able to see a very faint picture on the screen, but it will require you to view it from a certain angle. The backlamps are much less expensive to replace than the whole LCD screen. If, however, nothing appears on the external monitor then it is more likely to be something that is beyond economic repair - such as the mainboard or CPU.