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Helproom: your PC problems solved

September 2008: your questions answered

PC Advisor tackles more of your PC hardware and software problems. For free IT support 24 hours a day, get live help in the PC Advisor Helproom Forum.

General computing

GRAPHICS GRIPE

When I went online to update my PC to Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), I switched on Automatic Updates. The Intel 82945G Express Chipset Family update was installed. Ever since, I've had ‘No signal' displayed on my monitor.

I've tried switching off Automatic Updates and uninstalling the Intel update. I've also tried updating monitor drivers and adjusting the resolution and refresh rate. If I upgrade to a separate graphics card, will this help? Peter Reid

This sounds very much like a case of a Windows update breaking the very device it was there to update. There are two things you can do: first, roll back the driver by selecting the adaptor in Device Manager, selecting Properties, Driver, ‘Roll back driver'; second, download the latest driver from Intel.

A separate graphics card will help boost your system performance. Prices start at around £40 for a reasonable low-end card. Check the reviews section on our website for more details.

FUSS IN BOOTS

I own a Pentium III Optiplex PC that hasn't been used for a year or so, although the diagnostics disc that came with the PC shows no errors. I've installed two hard drives - 12GB and 32GB - and I'd like to load Windows 2000 on to the former.

I correctly set up the slave/master settings, set the boot sequence to CD-ROM and inserted the Windows 2000 disc. Some time after the process began, Windows prompted me to reboot. However, doing so restarts the process from the beginning. Hugh Walker

This sounds like a failing component, Hugh. However, you should also check the other components, since both the RAM and the motherboard are fairly old. Start by disconnecting the 32GB drive to narrow down where the problem might lie.

Now set your computer to boot from CD-HDD-FD. Boot from CD and completely wipe all partitions from the hard drive. Format it as NT File System (NTFS).

Install Windows on the single partition.

If, when rebooting, it offers to boot from CD, do nothing and wait for the prompt to disappear and installation to continue. If Windows begins to reinstall from scratch, you should shut down and swap the 12GB drive for the 32GB drive.

Repeat the steps from the beginning. If all goes well, the 12GB drive has probably reached the end of its life and should be scrapped. If the installation fails again, try swapping the CD and hard-drive IDE cables to ensure that neither are at fault.

If you're still experiencing problems, it's possible your RAM or motherboard is faulty. Download Ultimate Boot CD and run its diagnostic tools to pin down the fault.

FIXING FIX-IT

I'm trying to install Fix-It Utilities 7.0 Express, which came on the September cover DVD. When I choose online registration and submit the form, no number appears. I've also tried using another PC and electing to register later. Eric Rowley

You'll be able to register your copy of Fix-It at avanquest.co.uk/idg/fixit/register, Eric. For all other PC Advisor cover disc issues, please visit pcadvisor.co.uk/cd/faq.

NEXT PAGE: Windows tips


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