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Thread: Computer help desk

  1. #371
    Me and my shadow Gutmutter's Avatar
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    I recently needed to replace my mouse and Walmart didn't have the rollerball type - only a laser one. It didn't come with any installation anything, but since we plugged it in, the computer has been a little whacky. I've had to Restore several times and my daughter can't get on to her Myspace. Could it be the mouse? Just a coincidence? At one point it was saying "static" in a little window and nothing was working so I did a trick a phone help person had me do once... turn off the computer and unplug everything but the power cord and hold the power button down for a full minute. That worked like magic, but only for half an hour. Any advice or clues? I have medium/low computer ability. It said on the mouse packaging to make sure your computer had the capabilities, but the rest was too gobblety gook for me to understand.
    Count your blessings!

  2. #372
    Leo
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    Gut, what version of Windows do you have? If it's been purchased anytime since late 2001, you probably have Windows XP and there shouldn't be any problems with using an optical mouse. (I'm pretty sure that's what you bought and not a laser mouse - those cost quite a bit more than ordinary optical mice.)

    Optical mice are terrific, but the one catch is they can be picky about the surface you put them on. Anything reflective is not a good idea. Polished tables, glass, even some mouse pads will cause it to behave oddly. Here's a suggestion - find a cheap mouse pad that has a fabric surface, something similar to this one. It shouldn't cost a lot - one, maybe two dollars. There will be mouse pads that cost a lot more (try upwards of $20), but unless you're really into games, you don't need those.

    It's also possible that the mouse itself could be bad. If it's a really cheap mouse, then it could be broken right out of the box. It's happened to me once before. If there's a second computer you could test it on, I'd test it there.

  3. #373
    Me and my shadow Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Thanks Leo! I went to Walmart and looked at the packaging and it says it's compatible with Windows XP which is what I have. The mouse itself works on our old ratty fabric covered mouse pad. I should have been more specific. My daughter can't get onto her Myspace, she's having trouble with IMing, and once it's messed up getting on the internet goes right to "signing in...attempt 2, 3, etc. which I fix by restoring to an earlier date. I have been able to get here, do research, cut and paste to Word, and retrieve e-mail. So it is really her teenage things that are snarled. She is near tears every time she tries. (and you're right, it's optical, not laser)
    Count your blessings!

  4. #374
    Leo
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    I see - so it seems the mouse was just a coincidence. Not quite sure what's going on there - has anything new been installed (firewalls, etcetera) since the restore point that works? You could also have some spyware that you picked up since then. It could also just be your ISP misbehaving. It's really hard to be any more specific - Windows is, honestly, not the easiest thing to troubleshoot.

  5. #375
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered prhoshay's Avatar
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    Leo, got a question for you. A friend of mine had someone get into (hack?) her personal emails and delete everything. Can you advise of how he did this and what she can do to avoid this in the future?

    Thanks!
    "...each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." - Mitch Albom, one helluva writer

    When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, you know which one you hit by the one that yelps!

  6. #376
    Leo
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    prhoshay, I don't think whoever deleted your friend's e-mail really hacked into it. What I think is far more likely is she had a lousy password which was easy to guess, or she checked her e-mail from a shared computer.

    That said, my general advice for securing e-mail (or anything with a password, for that matter) is:

    - Better passwords! Most people have passwords which can be easily guessed by would-be hackers or even brute-forced. I highly recommend using some sort of password manager to generate a random password for your critical sites (banking, email, etcetera). There's a great list of password managers here: http://www.grc.com/sn/notes-005.htm

    - Unless there's a really good reason to, do not log in from a computer that others use. I'd also be cautious about logging into networks that anyone can use (i.e., free WiFi, etcetera). If that has to be absolutely done, make sure that you have a random password (as I said above) which you can store on a cellphone. Many cellphones now have some sort of special area where you can keep your passwords. (Just make sure the phone isn't stolen.) Another precaution you can take is to log in securely. Some sites (like Yahoo) do this by default now; others won't, but for e-mail there should always be a link on a log-in page that will allow you to do that. Also, be sure to explicitly log out - don't just close the browser when you leave.

  7. #377
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered prhoshay's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll share this info with all credit to you, of course!
    "...each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." - Mitch Albom, one helluva writer

    When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, you know which one you hit by the one that yelps!

  8. #378
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    Leo - thanks again. Our computer teacher suggested taking a rollerball mouse home from school (temporarily of course) and seeing if there is a problem. Nothing else has been installed.
    Count your blessings!

  9. #379
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    Leo - I have my Windows XP Automatic Update setting set to download updates, then notify me when they are ready to be installed. Every time I boot up the pc in the morning, it is set back to the Automatic setting...to download/install on it's own. Any idea why this setting goes back to Automatic? I have Norton..would it override the setting?
    "At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun." - anonymous

  10. #380
    Leo
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    I download my patches manually, so I'm not exactly sure what is wrong. The one thing that makes sense is if you have some sort of anti-spyware/malware software that is protecting your settings. Mucking around with Windows Update settings is something that something harmful might well want to do, and the spyware/malware protection software has no real way of knowing a person changed the setting, not something else.

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