12-second fixes

Sometimes solutions are complicated, but sometimes we get lucky and fixes are quick and easy.

These two are in the latter category. Use them on your own computer, or be a hero and fix your parents’, friends’, and coworkers’ computers.

You will rock!

Help! My Internet connection drops every 10 minutes

Several weeks ago, a long-time customer told me her Internet provider had two technicians out there, each for a good part of the day, trying to get her new connection working.

What was wrong with the connection? “It would drop after 10 minutes if I wasn’t using the computer.”

The connection was still dropping while I was there, but I was able to fix it.

Your wireless network adapter and your Ethernet adapter (which is where the cable between your router/modem and your PC connects to your PC) require a small amount of electrical current to work.

Many computers are set to power down those adapters after 10 minutes of inactivity.

Sometimes they don’t wake back up promptly or at all. Your service provider thinks your connection is fine, but your computer doesn’t come back online.

It’s an easy fix. You just have go to Device Manager and change a setting.

  • In any modern version of Windows, type Device Manager in the Search box
  • Click on Device Manager in the search results to open it
  • (Or go to Control Panel | View by Large Icons | Device Manager)
  • Click on the > next to Network adapters to expand that section
  • Right-click on your Ethernet or Wi-Fi adapter
  • Click on Properties | Power Management
  • Clear the check mark in the box called Allow the computer to turn off this device
  • Click on OK

Sometimes you have to restart the computer for the change to take effect, but that should do it. It’s about a 12-second fix.

If this problem started after you upgraded to Windows 10, you likely didn’t update your network adapter drivers before (or after!) you upgraded your operating system.

Check Windows Update and/or the website for your computer’s manufacturer to see if there’s a driver compatible with Windows 10.

Do not use a driver update utility that promises to look after your drivers. At best they are completely useless; at worst they are malicious software.

Update your driver, then apply the 12-second fix.

Help! My Desktop icons are tiny (or huge)

Did you know that you can easily change the size of the icons on your Windows Desktop? Although this has been a feature since Vista, most people never find out about it until the size changes accidentally!

On any modern version of Windows:

  • Right-click on a vacant area of your Desktop
  • Click on View
  • Click on the size you want
  • Make sure you have a check mark next to Show Desktop Icons

You might be wondering how the size got changed in the first place, given that you have to right-click and then click and then click again.

Well, there’s another way to change the size, and you’re not limited to three size choices.

With your mouse cursor on the Desktop, hold down the CTRL key and scroll with the wheel on your mouse. You should see the size of the Desktop icons change. You can go smaller than small and larger than large, or stop anywhere on the continuum.

I believe this is how this changes unintentionally. It only takes a couple of seconds to goof this up, and it’s another 12-second fix. Now, you know.

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, 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. Email [email protected].


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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