Odds and ends

Odds and ends

By Richard Heller

Odds and ends

This week will be kind of a catchall week with no particular theme. Let’s start out with anti-virus software. As I have stated in the past, it is important to keep your anti-virus software current. If the software that you are running has not been updated recently, and you are downloading from the web or using e-mail, you are living dangerously.

There has been a new mass-mailing virus reported, W32/magistr@mm, alias

PE_Magistr.A, W32/Magistr.24876@mm. The virus payload is very destructive, as it erases the hard disk and flashes the computer’s BIOS, rendering the computer unable to start. At the moment, it will usually arrive in e-mail as an EXE file with a random filename. The anti-virus people are working on updates to prevent/remove this virus from an infected system. You should update your anti-virus software to protect yourself from this deadly virus; until then, you should be very cautious about running programs that you receive in your e-mail, even it appears to be from someone you know. The virus uses YOUR FRIEND’S address book so the file will show up with YOUR FRIEND’S name on it.

Another subject has to do with computer maintenance. I was contacted recently by a person who was having a problem with her CD writer not working. After a few e-mails, it was discovered that the writer had worked up until the time she had additional memory and a second hard drive added to the computer. When a second drive is added to a system, the system will automatically change the drive letters. Before the upgrade, her CD-ROM and writer were drives D and E; after the upgrade, the new hard drive became drive D, her CD-ROM and writer were drives E and F. To her CD writer software, the writer did not exist. The store that did the installation had not bothered to correct a simple problem; by going into the Control Panel and telling the system about the drive letter change, the problem was resolved.

Many of you are now using cable modems for Internet access. If you have more than one computer and would like to share your high-speed connection, you can do this easily by setting up a home network. All you need is for the computer that has the connection to the cable modem to have a second network card installed and a network card in the other computer. If you are using Windows ME or 98SE, Internet Connection Sharing is built in, and you can surf the Net from two computers at the same time. Actually, it’s a little more involved than this, but you can still get it to work for $50 or less. If you have more than two computers, a network card would be required in each additional machine, and a hub would be needed to connect them all together. The cards are $25 each and a four-port hub is less than $50.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail technorh@mindspring.com.

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