It's the simple things. Sometimes.
Sep 3, 2012 / 5:00 am
Sometimes the simple things work. Other times, not so much. This week, I have an example of each situation. In other news, don’t click on the attachment in an email about a Facebook photo!
Plug it in
Last week a new customer contacted me because he could not get his printer/scanner working. Everything had been working fine until he had someone replace the power supply in the computer. When he brought the computer home and hooked it up, everything worked great except the multifunction device.
I guessed that the printer/scanner was connected to the network with WiFi and that in all the commotion had “forgotten” that it was part of the network, or that the computer had lost track of it. Prepared to do battle with wireless routers and WiFi passwords, I was surprised when I got to the customer’s home to discover that it wasn’t set up as a wireless device at all. When I looked behind the desk I found that the USB cable from the printer led…nowhere. I plugged it in to a USB port on the computer, heard the sound of a USB device connecting, and the stacked up print jobs started pouring out.
Before leaving I colour-coded the cables for all the devices plugged in to the computer. If he has to disconnect anything again, or move the desk, or move the printer, it will be a lot easier to identify what has to get plugged in and where.
Turn it on
I was feeling pretty good about my troubleshooting skills after that. But I soon found myself in a situation where the simple stuff didn’t work.
A long-time customer contacted me because she had got a new-to-her-but-previously-owned computer, and needed her files transferred from her old computer. No problem! I got over there and started the file transfer. While that was going on I had a look at the “new” one and tweaked some settings. “There’s no sound,” she said.
I looked up and saw that the speakers were turned off. “No problem,” I told her. “I’ll get that fixed as soon as we get files onto the new machine.”
Once everything was transferred and all the updates applied to the new computer, I reached up, turned on the speakers, and clicked on a music file.
Error messages all over everywhere!
Plugging the speakers into the power, connecting them to the right jack on the computer and turning them on fixes most sound problems. Checking that the sound hasn’t been muted fixes most of the rest. Not this time. Further troubleshooting revealed that the “sound card” was built into the computer and it was just quite simply not going to work.
Normally I would install a new sound card, but that was kind of crazy in a computer this old. The less expensive solution was to find USB speakers for roughly $20 and plug them in, completely bypassing the sound card. It took half an hour to order them and a few days for them to show up. It took less time to connect them and hear music than it did to get them out of the box. And yes, I still had to turn them on.
Don’t click on that Facebook email link
If you receive an email purporting to be from Facebook and encouraging you to click on an attachment to see a photo of you and a friend, don’t click on the link.
The email looks very much like a Facebook notification, the attachment is a trojan which disguises itself as a java updater, and runs every time you start up your PC.
Facebook notifications do not include attachments. Don’t be fooled by this very clever imitation. You can see a screenshot of the fake email here: http://sophosnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/facebook-photo-big.jpg. More information about the email and the trojan are on the Sophos blog, “Naked Security” here: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/08/28/facebook-friend-photo-malware/. Many thanks to our friends at Tweet4OK.com (http://tweet4ok.com/) who first brought this to our attention.
Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!
Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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