computing advice (Part 2)
My laptop runs very hot, and I’m
concerned that it could be on its way out. Is there anything I can do?
Dust is the common culprit behind
excessive heat, Joe. It’s sometimes necessary to return the laptop to a service
centre for internal cleaning, but in many cases you can resolve the problem by
blowing the dust out of the vents. A can of compressed air designed for the
purpose can be useful here.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you
may find that your fan has stopped spinning. If you don’t hear it whirring into
action when the laptop is under load or becoming rather hot, you may need to
take it to a local PC shop for repair.
A cooler can help prevent your laptop
from overheating, but it won’t deal with any underlying problems that are
causing this heat.
(Un)protect your Wi-Fi network
For many years, I didn’t bother
protecting my home network. My neighbours had their own password-protected
networks, so I didn’t feel the need to deal with the hassle of WPA2 keys and so
forth. But now that I have a premium broadband connection that promises impressive
connection speeds, I’m keen to ensure others don’t take advantage of it,
slowing me down.
Adding new devices to the WPA2 Wi-Fi
router’s trusted circle is proving troublesome, yet it’s something I often need
to do. Rather than endlessly entering complex passwords, I wanted a clever way
to be able to auto-login.
Digital inspiration came to my aid (tinyurl.com/3bk2cu7).
As well as explaining how to check whether anyone was taking advantage of my
open network in the first place. It had one simple suggestion: give my network
a scary name. Choosing an unappealing or intimidating SSID (network name) may
well be enough to ensure non-tech-savvy neighbours steer clear.
The Digital inspiration site uses the
example: c:\virus.exe. You might also try something that sounds vaguely threatening,
such as FBIwatchdog or thievesbeware. I like “iwillhackyou’, which should keep
the pilferers at bay.
A smarter option is not to broadcast
the SSID at all, meaning your network will stay invisible to outsiders while
remaining available to you.
Back up Windows mail
Where can I find my Windows Mail
messages and contacts so I can back them up to another machine?
The easiest way to back up your Windows
Mail messages and contacts is to export them from Windows mail. You can then
import the backup on to a second PC.
If you’re using Vista, Windows mail is
built in. In Windows 7, you’ll need to download and install the application-
it’s part of Windows Live Essentials, available from tinyurl.com/5vubf6l.
Launch Windows Mail and select File, Export.
On the second PC, you can then transfer this file and choose File, Import.
I’m having problems installing Windows
updates on my Vista PC. It successfully installed one of three updates, and
then stalled on the second. I rebooted the machine and it began installing the
third, and then stalled again. The PC refuses to bypass this screen and boot
To break out of this endless loop, try
booting from your original Windows Vista installation disc (assuming one was
supplied with the PC). Choose the language; click Next, their select “Repair
The installer will search for any
window operating systems residing on your hard drive. If you have only one,
click next; otherwise, you’ll need to discern the correct installation from the
Select Startup Repair from the
recovery options displayed. The installer should guide you through the steps
necessary to boot into Windows and access the desktop.
If this doesn’t work, instead select
Command Prompt from the recovery options. Enter the following commands in the
interface that appears, substituting c: for the relevant drive letter if this
is not the driver on which Windows is installed. Press Enter after each line,
This will prompt Windows to back up
all your pending updates, then move them out the way so the operating system
can start up normally. You can then install individual updates via Windows