Helpdesk

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Q: We have just set up broadband with wireless in our flat but we are having some problems.  We logged into the router and set up our network SSID and password.  Everyone can get on the Internet without a problem – except one flatmate.  He is using an HP laptop running Windows Vista, the other two laptops are using Windows 7.  There is also a desktop PC connected directly to the router, which can also access the Internet.  Have we set it up wrong, or is it a fault with his laptop?  He has used wireless at other locations without a problem.
This is more than likely a configuration or driver issue, neither of which should be too difficult to fix.  First try connecting the Vista laptop directly to the router with a network cable.  Ensure you have Internet access through the cable, and then follow the steps here to open your Device Manager http://tiny.cc/u1mdk Once the Device Manager is open, double click on Network Adaptors.  You will now see all network adaptors in your computer, including your wireless adaptor.  Right click on the wireless adaptor, and then choose Update Driver Software, at the prompt select Search Automatically For Updated Driver Software.  This will search the Intenet for updated versions of the drivers for your wireless card, and install any new versions it finds.  After you have done this, you need to delete the configuration for your wireless network in case anything has been entered incorrectly.  Open the Control Panel and click on Network and Sharing Center, then select Manage Wireless Networks.  Find the settings for your wireless network, select them, and then click on Remove.  
Now that you have updated the drivers for your wireless card, and removed the network settings, you should be able to connect to your wireless network without a problem.
Q: I have a Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard.  I have heard that there is a new operating system that was released recently.  Do I have to update my system?  Are there benefits of doing this?
Apple have recently released Lion, the successor to Snow Leopard.  Before even considering upgrading to Lion, you should check that it is possible to upgrade.  Click the ? (Apple) icon at the top left of your screen, then click About This Mac to make sure your Macbook has an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor. Although Lion, the new OSX upgrade, boasts over 250 new features, it is still very much in its early stages; there are a number of applications that are not yet compatible with this new release, and features that don’t work exactly how they are supposed to.  You can check your apps compatibility here: http://tiny.cc/mc5zl Apple is working hard to remedy these issues, and has already released an update for Lion which includes general operating system fixes.
While these compatibility issues and any other problems will surely be ironed out almost as quick as they arise, it still may pay to wait until a stable release of Lion is available.  There is definitely no rush, as Apple will still support Snow Leopard at least until they release an OS to succeed Lion.  You can read more about the new features in Lion here: http://tiny.cc/iu72y
Q:Every time I switch on my computer it asks whether I want to do a Disk Check or not.  There is a countdown giving me the chance to cancel it.  I always just hit cancel and then when it boots into Windows everything seems fine.  Is this something I should worry about? My computer has Windows XP SP3 installed; with 1.5GB RAM and a 160GB Hard drive.
This is Windows’ way of telling you that something isn’t quite right with the files and folders on your drive.  This can come from shutting down the computer incorrectly, a failed update, or even bad sectors on a hard drive.  The first thing you should do is let the disk check run, if it finds errors then it will try to fix them itself.  If the issue is not resolved, and the message continues to appear whenever you switch on your computer, then it could be something more serious, and could be a sign that your hard drive is failing.  If this is the case then it might be time to have a computer technician take a look at it for you – ignoring a problem like this can lead to data loss.
Q: I have just bought an iPhone and my friends are telling me that I should ‘Jailbreak’ it.  They said that if I do then I would be able to get games and apps for free.  I am worried that this might harm my phone, or even void the warranty – but I do like the idea of getting games for free.  Can you give me more information about the ‘Jailbreak’ for the iPhone?
The iPhone has a seemingly endless list of functions and features, but with this list comes many restrictions set in place by Apple.  These restrictions mean that only Apple authorised applications can be run or installed, certain functionality is missing, and there are limitations to some of the configuration.
Jailbreaking an iPhone allows you to install unauthorised apps and modifications.  These applications are free, but jailbreaking an iPhone doesn’t come without risks.  Because Apple does not regulate these free apps, there is no telling what code the developer has included, malicious or otherwise.  There is also a risk of downloading material that is in breach of copyright, therefore rendering the activity illegal.  Apple states that after jailbreaking an iPhone can become unstable and unreliable, and that the process may void the warranty.  While there may be benefits of jailbreaking your iPhone, it is at your own risk.

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