Boot Device Not Found, Brain Also Missing

My desktop PC, an HP Pavilion p6000, crashed this morning and won't boot successfully, displaying an ominous "Boot Device Not Found" error instead. This used to be the kind of situation that would send me into a fetal position mumbling "why didn't I make a backup?" over and over to myself. But a few years ago, I burned to CD a free copy of Knoppix, a stripped-down version of Linux, that can be used in an emergency like this. I booted the computer off this CD and found all of my files are still ... (read more)

Stopping Viruses on Windows XP with ESET NOD32

I recently spent a week fixing my son's Windows XP computer after it was infected with a virus on the same day the machine's Norton 360 subscription ran out. As I was going from PC to PC in the house updating Norton, a virus infected a bunch of Windows system files and began sending out hundreds of Russian Viagra spams. Norton apparently stops protecting you from viruses the second the subscription ends. I expected it to stop offering updates, but I didn't know it would refuse to scan new files ... (read more)

Kickin' It Old School with Microsoft Word 97

I began a new book this week on Java programming for beginners. I haven't been doing much computer book writing for a couple years, so I no longer had an installed copy of Microsoft Word 97, the version of the software my publisher uses to draft manuscripts. Word 2007 can save files in 97 format, but it doesn't support the publisher's custom styles, so I decided to install Word 97 on Vista. Huge mistake. Word 97 appeared to install properly, but when I installed some other Microsoft software ... (read more)

No More Apple Blue Screen of Death

A web site has been airing a commercial on ESPN and other networks for its computer tuneup services. The first time I saw the commercial, I felt sorry for the iMac and iBook users whose computers crash when they use Windows XP to check their email and browse the web. Getting a blue screen of death on your Apple laptop can't be easy to repair -- if FinallyFast.Com helps these unfortunates, more power to them. But a disclaimer on the commercial indicates the service only works with PCs. Without ... (read more)