Editor’s Comments

By William LaMartin, Editor, Tampa PC Users Group

I think I have had enough computer problems this past month to fill the small amount of space available. Luckily all problems have been solved except the most recent: As I write this, the Discussion Group at TPDUG.ORG will not allow posting of messages or replies. In addition, I cannot use Microsoft FrontPage to open the site. So, possibly there is a write permissions problem. You need to write to certain folders on the server when you use FrontPage, and you certainly need to write somewhere if you are going to post a message. And to do this you need the server’s permission. But that is just a guess. I assume, though, by the time you get this newsletter everything will be back to normal.

The most interesting problem this month was on a new Gateway Solo laptop—not mine unfortunately. The microphone jack produced no sound; using different microphones did no better. Obviously the microphone was muted in the volume control. Wrong. Obviously something was wrong with the recording settings. Wrong. Obviously all that was needed was to remove all mention of the sound card from the Win 98 Device Manager, reboot and let Windows install all the sound drivers again. Wrong. In fact one of the three sound card components would not install.

Since it was a new machine, the thing to do was call Gateway. The technician I got was the best I have ever worked with. He never missed a beat as he led me toward a solution, and he never broke for a moment to consult a resource (tech talk for asking someone else for help). Of course, he had me do what I had already done with the same result. He then instructed me to insert the recovery disk into the CD drive (not to run the setup program on it, since that would have restored the computer to its status when new—wiping out all the programs we had installed), have Win 98 search a certain folder for the needed driver for this one component, and that is where we stopped. The computer just would not open the folder.

I said I had seen it act like that before and that the drives on this computer seemed slow to react . He said he thought the computer had a corrupted driver for the hard drive, and he had me boot in safe mode, where he had me again remove all mention of the sound card plus some additional Microsoft sound drivers that hadn’t shown up in normal mode—and most importantly he had me remove the Intel driver for the hard drive controller. A reboot produced a driver for the hard drive and drivers for two of the three sound components. This time, however, when we had Windows search the recovery CD for the needed driver, there was no problem in getting it.

Miraculously the microphone began to work. Who would have thought that you would need to reinstall the software for your hard drive to get your microphone to work.

My own desktop computer had a problem which I posted to our Discussion Group (when you could still do that). This problem manifested itself by producing an error and closing down Internet Explorer (IE) whenever I would try to type a URL into the URL text box of IE. The same thing would occur when you tried to type anything into the Start | Run text box. I could, however, paste text into the boxes with no problem.

I thougt about this for 24 hours and could not solve the problem. I searched Microsoft’s knowledge Base and the Usenet newsgroups. Suspecting a problem with IE, I reinstalled it. No luck. I then contacted Microsoft and received the answer that my problem was caused by a corrupted history file for IE coupled with the auto complete feature. The solution was to temporarily disable auto complete, delete all entries in the history file and the cache for IE. That solved the problem, and I decided to not enable auto complete again since it was usually more of a nuisance than a help. I now think if I had uninstalled IE before reinstalling it, that probably would also have solved the problem. Isn’t computing fun?

A final problem, actually the first problem of the month, was the inability to get help on the common dialog control in Visual Basic 5 after I installed a program. This program apparently installed a newer version of this control. The control worked but required a different help file. I had various complicated schemes for solving the problem but wanted a simpler one. Again, after checking all my usual resources, I contacted Microsoft and they provided a simple solution: unregister the new version of the control, delete it, get the original version off the CD, register the original version. You can’t simply replace the new with the old. You must register and unregister using Regsvr32.exe.

Thanks, Microsoft. Thanks, Gateway. u