Friday, 21 November 2008

Hard Drives, Viruses and a German Printer

Having managed to thoroughly screw up the hard drive on my computer, I was forced, last week, to put in a new one. Of course, this meant re-installing Windows XP (I’ve had this computer for about 4 years). Oh, joy!

Having done the reinstallation, taking hours to let it download all the security updates (about 25 including Service Pack 3) I reloaded most of my software: Pagemaker, Freehand, Photoshop, Filemaker, etc., etc., and then found I had no sound.

If you’ve ever visited any of the online Windows advice forums – my favourite is Tech Support Guy where there are real people helping, and they will stick with you until you solve your problem – anyway, as I was saying, if you’ve visited these forums, you’ll see a lot of queries with titles like ‘I’ve lost my sound!!!’ (the triple exclamation marks seem to be de rigeur) and people saying that after reinstalling Windows, they no longer have any sound device installed. Well, having done this (reinstallation) before, I knew what to do – go to the motherboard producer’s website and update the chipset. If this is all Greek to you, don’t worry, it is to me also, but my motherboard manufacturer is MSI Global and they have an automatic scan and update feature on their website.

So, I went to the website and updated the chipset. Sophos, my Virus Control - free from the University and updated every hour - went mad. Kept saying all sorts of terrible things were going to happen. These I cheerfully ignored, but after updating the chipset and rebooting, still no sound. I repaired to Tech Support Guy, and they advised shutting down the virus control and trying again so that it would not prevent some updates from happening. This I did, in spite of my worries about letting in a virus, and all seemed well… but still no sound. Oh, well, I thought; I can probably sort that out by putting in a new, better, sound card. The installation should overwrite any problems. Having done this, still no sound. In fact the drives for the new card didn’t seem to install properly at all.

Then, while I was trying to figure out what to do next, something began to install itself on my computer – something calling itself Virus Control 2000. And although I cancelled it, Popup windows kept appearing saying My computer was infected with all sorts of things. I tried deleting the files, clearing the HKEYs, etc, but each time I rebooted, it reappeared. Seemed like my worst fears had been realised; I had indeed got a virus – a Trojan.

B*****r this! I thought. I’m going to start again from scratch. So I did a reformatting job on the HD and reinstalled Windows and all the updates, then quickly turned off the virus control again with my fingers crossed, updated the chipset, turned the virus control back on again, rebooted and, TA-DAHHHH, lots of lively sound.

My only problem now is that the printer installation disk says my printer isn’t recognised (connected) though the plug and play recognises it instantly and gives me a choice of which drivers to install. I scrolled down the list and plumped (the only word – I had no real idea) for one and let it install. My printer is now German!

It’s impossible to change this and install the English versions because the installer knows it’s already installed (even if you uninstall it) without following a long and complex set of instructions kindly provided by the kind Mr Nathan at Epson.

This, also, I have had to do before (some people never learn!) Still, that should keep me inside in the warm, out of the snow over the weekend.


  1. Hey, Mr Tech Genius! How do you do this cool thing of embedding an image of your (German) screen? That's fantastic. I have to resort to low tech work-arounds like taking a photo of the screen with my camera.

    Very. Un. Cool.

    My condolences on your lost weekend.

  2. Really simple, press the Print Scrn key, open Photoshop or other imaging software, click Paste, then crop the image to the correct size and save as jpeg.

    Thanks about the weekend. J