PC House Call - Case Studies

I recently purchased an HP Mini a small laptop classified as a netbook. I plan to use it for email, surfing the Internet and word processing. However, it does not have an optical drive, so I cannot install some of the programs from a CD.

Susie, Cornelius


I purchased Hallmark Card Studio from a local store. I tried to install the program from the DVD in the Hallmark package; however, my optical drive could not read the DVD.

Pete, Davidson

Susie’s netbook is small, light-weight, economical, energy-efficient laptop. Netbooks are especially suited for wireless communication and Internet access. The name netbook pertains to it size and usage (web-based computing) rather than a notebook, which is larger and has an optical drive for installing programs. The netbook is ideal for mobile users.

I used a special PC to PC Data Transfer device to drag-n-drop Suzie’s files and file folders from her desktop to the other. I also used the transfer device to copy her word processing program; this method was a bit tricky. A better method is to use a USB DVD/CD-ROM external optical drive through the USB port and enjoy access to DVDs and CDs. An external optical drive can be purchased for about $50.

Pete’s problem was similar. His 5-year old desktop PC had a CD drive; unfortunately it would not recognize his Hallmark DVD, so installation was impossible. If I had an external optical drive, the installation would have been easy. Fortunately, the Hallmark website included a provision for replacing the DVD with a CD. Pete mailed it to Hallmark for the exchange.

My two year old Compaq Presario with Windows Vista is terribly slow. Should I buy a new one or get this fixed?

Wendy, Huntersville

Wendy was right because when I started her desktop PC it was unbearably slow. I took it to my computer lab for remediation. Here are some of the steps: I increased the memory (RAM) from 512 MB to 2 GB to speed it up. A Vista computer needs more memory than an XP computer for efficient operation. Then I installed Windows Service Pack 2 and over 25 pending security updates to protect and improve performance.

I uninstalled the original antivirus software program that had bogged down the system. I replaced it with one more efficient. In addition, a digital tune-up was needed. I cleared many minor programs that were running in the background using precious CPU resources. I also ran several utility programs to render a more efficient system. Lastly, I also used my electric air compressor to blow out the dust from the ventilation fans better to prevent overheating.

In Wendy’s case, it was more cost effective to update her desktop rather than to purchase a new PC. The tune-up and improved protection helped out also.

My PC displays an antivirus program with a message in the middle of the screen that gives a detected virus and trojan count. I do not recognize this program and do not know how I got it. I can't remove it, and it wants me to pay for a full install and virus removal by clicking on a link.

Susan, Davidson

When is installing an anti-virus not a good thing? When it's a fake AV program that can actually steal your personal information and manipulate your system. That's what's happening with a program under various names, which tries to trick you into installing it by running a fake virus scan and popping up fake alerts.

Your PC is already infected with rogue "anti-virus" program. Do not click on the link; that will make matters worse.

A quick fix might be the latest update for Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT); it targets specific malware for removal. This utility helps to remove some of the malware; unfortunately there may be other threats not detected by MSRT. Additional scans using special antimalware software may be needed.

How can I open links in a new tab? When I click a hyperlink on a page in my browser (Firefox), it opens up in the same tab (thus losing the original page). How do I make links open in a new tab so I don't have to use the Back button to get back to my original page?

Kay, Cornelius

I really like tabs for opening multiple pages at the same time. With every browser, there are a different ways to do that. The simplest is to right click the link and select Open in a New Tab. Using this method, you can also open the link in a whole new window (browser instance) if you want. That will open the link in a new tab. Or pressing the CTRL key while you click the link will do the same thing. All three of these tricks work in the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome.


Home HouseCall01.htm HouseCall02.htm
HouseCall03.htm HouseCall04.htm