Common Problems With Home Networks (3)

Router Failure

Just as a computer can crash or hang so can a router. In effect a router is a one-purpose computer. Like a computer it has a micro-processor, memory and an operating system. It is pre-programmed to perform the specific task of receiving network signals on one connection and sending them down another and vice versa. It is doing this many thousands of times a second. No wonder that sometimes it can crash or hang. So if your network suddenly stops working one day first of all, check the router. Unplug it at the wall, count to twenty and plug it back in. Wait a few minutes for it to be up and running again then check that all the lights are green. It’s normal for one or two of them to flash, this just indicates it’s sending or receiving signals. This will fix a dropped Internet connection caused by a router crash or hang. However, you may find that not all the lights are amber. In this case check that all the cables are plugged in correctly. Unplug and replace each one just to make sure. Try replacing the Internet filter on the phone if you have one (NB cable phones don’t need them). After all this it may be that the router has broken down and should be replaced.

Common Problems With Home Networks (2)

A Firewall Block

One of the most common problems with home networks is caused by firewalls blocking network connections on the computers. Firewalls provide essential security to Windows but sometimes it can take a lot of work to get the settings right. Not so tight that you can’t use networking and not so loose that it doesn’t protect your computer.

If you are getting strange errors when trying to connect to a printer or another computer it may be the Firewall is restricting connection. So, first of all try turning off the firewall – but just for a few minutes. Then try connecting again. If you can connect with the firewall turned off but not when it’s turned on then the firewall is the problem.

To fix the firewall preventing a network connection you should create what’s called “an exception”. This is a rule that tells the firewall to allow the connection you are making. If it’s a computer you are trying to connect to try putting in a rule that allows connections to it’s IP address. To find a computers IP address do the following:
Click “Start”
Click “Run”
Enter “cmd” and click “OK”
You should get a new window with a black background and a flashing short white line.
Type “ipconfig” and press enter
Write down the IP Address (a set of four numbers such as
Type “exit” and press enter to close the window.
You now now the ip address to create the exception rule.

How to avoid mis-keying Caps Lock

You know how it is. You are happily typing away when all of a sudden your text switches to ALL CAPS. It’s easy to hit the Caps Lock key when typing – we’ve all done it. It’s also frustrating because you have to delete what you’ve just typed take off the Caps Lock and type again. Here’s a little tip that, although it can’t stop it happening, at least it will alert you as soon as it happens.

Click on “Start” and “Control Panel”. Choose the “Easy Access Center”. Click “Make the keyboard easier to use”. Tick the box where is says “Use toggle keys”. Now click on “Apply” and then “OK”.

From now on, whenever you press the Caps Lock the computer will emit a beep.

Clean up your hard disk

It doesn’t take long for any hard disk to pick up lots of junk files. For example, whenever you go on to the Internet almost all the information that you see has been downloaded to your hard disk. Other applications such as Word and Excel create temporary files as soon as you open them. Over time these temporary files can eat up lots of your hard disk space.

Fortunately Windows PCs come equipped with a utility to clean it all up. Click on “Start” and open “Computer” (“My Computer” in XP). Click with the right mouse button (right-click) on your system disk – which is usually called “Drive (C:)” or “Disk (C:)”. In the menu list select “Properties”. Click on the tab labelled “General” and then click the “Disk Cleanup” button. Disk Cleanup will find all the temporary files and other junk files that are safe to delete from your hard disk and present you with a report. Go through the list and put a tick in the box next to any other types of files you want to delete. Click “OK” and then “Delete Files” (“Yes” in XP).

Do this every month or so to help keep your hard disk free of junk files and your computer working well.

Phone numbers in Excel

One of the common uses for Excel is to keep a list of contacts; names, addresses and telephone numbers. But, the problem is that when you enter the ‘phone number you lose the leading 0. so a ‘phone number of 01234567899 becomes 1234567899. It is also aligned to the right instead of the left.

To stop losing the 0 in front of the ‘phone number and get it to line up with the rest of the text you put in all you have to do is type an apostrophe before you enter the number. In the above example this would be: ‘01234567899

The apostrophe tells Excel to treat the number you are entering as text and not a numerical value.

Keep Your PC Safe with the latest Windows updates

New ways of hacking, controlling or infecting your PC with a virus are being discovered almost daily. As these new threats emerge, Microsoft updates its Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications to block them. However, you need to download the updates regularly to be sure of getting maximum protection.

Hackers and software manufacturers are engaged in a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Hackers try to find ways to use bugs and loopholes in popular software in order to get a back door into people‚Äôs computers. The software developers fix their software as soon as a threat is known, so the hackers can no longer use the methods they’ve discovered.

In Windows it is possible to automate the update process. Open the Security Centre in Control Panel and make sure the option for automatic updates is set to “ON”.

To update other applications you should regularly visit the software manufacturer’s website to check for updates, patches or service packs. Updates must be combined with anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software to be more fully effective. For further help on anti-virus and anti-spyware see .


Common Problems With Home Networks (1)


It’s normal for a wireless signal to be different strengths in different locations around the home. However, if you find the strength is frequently going up and down, or even dropping out altogether, the problem may caused by interference. Cordless phones, mobile phones and baby monitors are only some of the devices that may be competing with your wireless network. Perhaps your neighbours have wireless networks too. If so, it is possible that their wireless is interfering with the signal of your wireless network.

Fortunately, to fix a weak or unsteady wireless signal doesn’t always mean buying new equipment. Most wireless routers allow you to change what’s called the wireless “channel”. This is the frequency range the router will transmit It could be your next door neighbour has a wireless network transmitting on the same channel and this is causing the interference. So simply changing the channel for your wireless network may fix the weak or unsteady signal. Of course, there may be more than one neighbour with a wireless network so some experimentation with channels may be required until you find one that no-one else is using. This fix may also work for the other wireless devices at home.

Common Problems That Slow Down Your PC (4)

Spyware and Malicious Programs – If you have ever experienced annoyances such as a new toolbar in your Internet browser, or a new start-up page that you did not set, you are likely plagued with spyware. Every PC should be protected using security software that includes anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall. See for further information.


Common Problems That Slow Down Your PC (3)

Too Many Start-Up Programs – When you boot your computer, there are several programs that automatically start behind the scenes. These programs eat up your computer’s available processing capacity and slow it down dramatically. Most likely, you don’t need all of these programs to automatically start when you boot your computer.


Common Problems That Slow Down Your PC (2)

Full Hard Drive – It’s possible that your hard drive could be too full of data to function efficiently. If you use a digital camera or store video or music on your PC you can soon run out of disk space if you are not careful. As a rule of thumb it is best to keep 10% of the disk space free for programs to run smoothly.