GST104a Computer Literacy 
FAQ

[Edited 4/24/07]
Student Contributed Problems--will be answered ASAP By Ramon(RG), Garrett(GA) and Jim(JLR)

"My computer won't start up: This is what pops up when I turn on my computer."
Windows could not start becuase the following file is missing or corrupt.<Windowsroot>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe Pleas re-install a copy of the above file.

Solution:

Usually sudden corrupt system files are a sign of the hard drive having bad sectors and many times a bad hard drive all together but not always
(1) Try to see if you can boot into safe mode by hitting the F8 key after the initial startup screen on a startup (the screen after the computer logo, but before windows starts to boot). 
(2) If you can get into safe mode, then you would need to have a windows xp disk, I think home or pro will work.
(3) Go to start, run, then type in SFC /scannow, it will check the system files and replace them with the ones from the system disk.
(4) If you don't  have the disk, you can try to get into safe mode and run the system disk tools to check and fix all problems, it will probably need to restart then it will try to scan and repair any disk problems.
(5) If you can not get into safe mode at all, the next option would be to use the system disk and load it at startup and restore the system files, it can do a restore, but keep the files intact, but you need an XP system disk, and tell it to do a system restore only.  If you use XP home, make sure the CD key is the one to that computer. Usually at this point, its usually best to just rebuild the system after you backup your files, becuase the system is never the same after doing that, but at least you have access to your files. 
(6) If the drive is bad and you've tried to reinstall the OS,  the last option would be to take the drive out and run it off another computer, try to access and copy the files, then replace the hard drive.  [RG]

I don't have many files stored in my computer but my computer has been working really slow lately.  I perform the Defragment Disk  and Disk Clean up but it is still slow.  Any suggestions?

Solution: Solution: You may want to run a virus scan or spyware scan and see if that helps. You may need to keep some programs that are not really needed from starting up when the computer starts. For this , it is probably best to take your computer to the Student Help Desk to have them look at it. [RG]


“What should we do if our computer or laptop just shuts down by itself? Is there anything we can do for this cannot happen once more and have our work saved?”

        Solution:

            Sometimes it is hard to tell what is causing a computer to restart, but there is one thing you can do to narrow down what is causing the problem. Open the Control Panel by going to Start – Settings – Control Panel, or Start – Control Panel. Find the “System” icon, and double click. Alternatively, you could bypass all of this by right clicking on “My Computer” and selecting “Properties.” This will open the system properties. Along the top are several tabs. Click on the tab titled “Advanced.” In the “Startup and Recovery” section, click the settings button. In the “Startup and Recovery” window that pops up, under the “System Failure” section, ensure that the checkbox titled “Automatically Restart” is unchecked. This will ensure that instead of rebooting automatically, the computer will give an error code, pointing to what is causing the error. If the blue screen shows any file names near the top, write those down as well, because that is the file causing the problem. The only things to do to keep these errors from happening is to take the computer to the Student Technology Helpdesk in the lower levels of the library and have the problem fixed, or to back up any work, and have the computer reimaged, which may be necessary, based on the severity of the problem.  (GA)


"Would an old computer that ran on win98 work as good as the computers that are sold today if the hardware was updated on the computer that ran on win98?"

Solution:
               
If the computer performs the tasks you need to do then use it as is.  Updating hardware is probably not worth the effort for a computer this old because of Moores Law.  Conclusion if it does the job don't fix it and if it dosen't do the job don't fix it buy a new "on sale" desktop.  Keep in mind you will still have to buy new software and that can be expensive. (JR)


“What is the special cloth or tissue for cleaning the screen of the laptop?”

        Solution:
There is no certain type of cloth that you must use, as long as you use a soft, lint free cloth, such as an old t-shirt, or micro fiber cloth. It’s best to use a solution of 50% isopropyl alcohol, 50% distilled water, to keep the screen from generating a static charge after rubbing the cloth on it. Slightly dampen the cloth and clean the screen in a circular pattern. (GA)

"The computer keeps popping up a message 
that reads:
"
System Alert: Trojan-Spy.Win32@mx Type:
Spyware/Trojan Vulnerable: Windows
95/98/ME/NT/2003/Windows XP Description: Spyware
program that sends confidential information to a remote
attacker Protection: Click this baloon to download
official security software.

Solution: This actually sounds like spyware or adware disguised as an antivirus program detecting viruses on your computer. There may be no real virsus, however run virus scan with your macafee antivirus program. You should then run adaware removal programs thats you can download and installsuch as Spybot and adware, they usually remove this problem. It works best to run these in Safe mode, to do this, when you computer first restarts and then right after the logo screen, hold down the F8 key, then select safe mode. Log in as normal and run those programs. This can get complicated, so it may just be best to take the computer down to the student help desk. [RG]

“For Title V laptops, does it renew the anti-virus protection by itself or do we have to tell it when to update?”

        Solution: The McAfee antivirus installed on the Title V laptops should update automatically, assuming there is an internet connection.  (GA)
"Every time I turn on my computer a file named WS_FTP LE opens. I did not know this program nor I 
do I know how the make it stop opening automatically. How do I stop the program for opening?"

   Solution: This is a program used to transfer files to a server, it should not automatically start up, it would be best to take the computer to the Student Help
desk and have the program removed from startup. [RG]

"How do we turn in late work?"

Solution: You in turn in late work as normal, by dropping it into the homework forlder and then in the name of the folder, make sure it says "old homework", or "oldHW" something so I know its old. [RG]

"This is Sara Booker from GST 104a. Just doing the homework assignment--"_ Not quite --you did not submit a problem!

What is a Proxy ?

Solution:  Proxies  connect a user (you or me) to another computer (the proxy) then to the internet address you have requested.  This is used for several reasons (1) K-12 schools are legally required to keep students from accessing certain web pages (pornography for example) so a BCSD computer first accesses the proxy computer which checks the web address and then allows access if it is acceptable or prevents access if it is not an acceptable web site.  The user is unaware this is happening since he or she uses the browser as they would anywhere else. (2) We have LexusNexus available to CSUB students and staff.  This is a very expensive service so only CSUB students and staff are allowed access under.  This is controlled by a proxy.  If you are at CSUB no problem and no proxy is required because LexusNexus knows where the request is comming from but if you are not at CSUB you are required to give your Runner ID and last name to go through the proxy to LexusNexus.

This  use of the term "proxy" is much the same as when you are going to miss a meeting and you give someone your "proxy" thus allowing them to cast a vote for you.  In one case the computer proxy is acting as you and in the other case the person attending the meeting is acting/voting for you. (JLR)

"Im having trouble with the flash drive I got for the 
class.
When I go to save a document it says:
WOrd cannot save or create this file. Make sure the disk that you
want to save the file of is not full, write-protected, or
damaged
I know it's not the memory becuase the disk is 
blank. What is the problem with my flash drive.
  
Solution: Many thumb drives have a switch that allow you to lock it out to
prevent data being changed or deleted. Make sure this switch is on the
open position, usually you'll see a symbol of a lock and opened lock.

Make sure it is on the open lock. If it still won't write to the drive,
there may be a problem with the drive. Let the instructor know. [RG]

How do I save or copy an email onto my laptop?
 
Solution:

Depends on the email program you are using.  Many email programs have a mehod by which you can save messages to your computer.  In  most you can use Microsoft Outlook or another computer based email application read, write, store your messages on your computer from RunnerMail, FirstClass, etc. These are specific to an email program and you will have to check the email program you are using for specifics.

I am going to guess that your question is how to show you have sent, recieved, attached an email message for a class assignment.or want to use text from the message.  The simple way is to select by dragging area then choose copy (or Ctrl><C>) then go to the document where you want the material and click on the location and paste (or Ctrl><V>).  The best way to actually show the message or at least a screen of the message as it looks in the email program is to do a screen copy (or <Ctrl><PrintScrn> on a desktop or <Fn><PrintScrn> on a laptop ) then paste the screen clip in a Word document. (JLR)

How do you attach something off of a webpage?
 
Solution:
How to copy a web page address, just select the web page address and copy, go to the message you are sending and paste

How to get material from a web page to a Word document: select the material on the web page, copy, go to the Word document and paste.

How to copy a picture from a web page: (1) In Microsoft Explore: place cursor on the graphic or picture, right click, choose copy,  go to your Word or PowerPoint document and paste. (2) If in a non Microsoft browser: place cursor on the graphic or picture, right click, choose Save Image As and save the image on your desktop or in a folder, go to your Word or PowerPoint document choose Insert/Picture/From File, find the graphic and place in your docunment. (JLR)

“What programs can I download that are legal and cheap that permit me to download music?”

Solution: http://www.emusic.com offers a free trial, with 25 free songs, and $0.33 or less after that, and the music is DRM (Digital Rights Management) free, so it is playable in any mp3 player. If you are student with a valid runnermail account, you can register with http://www.ruckus.com for free music downloads. Wal-mart also offers music for $0.88 per song from their website at http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=4104&fromPageCatId=10 , including the option to create custom CDs to be shipped to you. (GA)


"The range of prices for web cams, also if there was a specific type that is better than the others."

Solution:
Buy Microsoft, Creative or Logitech brands for safety.  Unknown brands may be good but these have a name to protect.  Don't but the cheepest, in general about $50+  list seems to work best currently and these are often discounted with sales or rebates (the one demonstrated in class, an adequate camera for computer to computer video was $49.50 retail but with rebates $29.90 plus tax).  If you are buying for a laptop make sure it will attach easily to the laptop. Features you might consider are low light quality, facetracking (my home vrstion has this), mega pixels for shooting stills (I have a camera so I don't need or want this), easy attachment to your laptop or stability for a desktop, remote monitor cabibility (if you want to monitor a room or area remotely (I can see uses for this but haven't tried it), 640x480 VGA resolution would for me seems to be about right for acceptable quality and transfer rates on the web (the 352x288 on budget Webcams is not very good quality pictures but transfers faster). automatic focus, attached headset and mike. Sorry this is the best I can do without more time to research web cams.  One quick source I found useful is ConsumerSearch.  My suggestions: decide how much you can spend, functions you would like, quality cameras that fit your needs then watch weekend ads for sales--do fill out rebates correctly and send in promptly. (JLR)

How do you connect a web cam?

          Solution:
Most are pretty streight forward.  Plug into the USB port.  There are usually instructions with the web cam for installation and if really new there may be a CD with drivers.  As to programs there are sometimes specific programs with the web cam and there are also general communication programs: VOIP, chat, etc. on the web. I use Skype a VOIP (which we will have a lab on Spring quarter) which has specific steps.(JLR)

How one would go about knowing if something on the internet is safe access and/or download? 

Solution:
Easier asked then answered! We will have two weeks on search and credibility Spring quarter on this topic.  The short answer: if you have questions are you are unsure don't access or download.  As your  skills and  knowledge increase you will be able to make quicker, accurate decisions .  I download only from sites I know, I do not  link to any email  links from sources I do not know.  Even with this I have made decisions that were not good! (JLR)

"When a program freezes and I press <CTRL><ALT><DELETE> and choose TASK MANAGER, the window does not show up".

Solution: If the task manager does not show up,usually it is hidden from vew underneath the start bar and task bar.  If this happens, unlock the taskbar on the botton by right clicking on it and choosing, unlock the taskbar.  Then put the cursor over the top of the bar and drag it to the side, see if you see the task manager underneath. If not, drag the taskbar back to the bottom and let your instructor know. [RG]

"What is the speed of my internet connection?"

Solution:

T
ry the links below.  You can see if you are getting what you pay for.  The speeds will vary at diffirent times based on internet traffic and how far you might be from your ISP. (They did not agree when I ran them but were good general indicators of my internet speed.
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest <--Works pretty well
http://www.bandwidthplace.com/speedtest <--I had some problems with this site
http://www.wugnet.com/myspeed/speedtest.asp <-For PC WIndows users only


"I don’t have a lot of money to spend on music, but I still enjoy listening to it. Is there any legal way for me to get music cheap or free?”

  Solution:

www.ruckus.com

www.emusic.com

The first site, Ruckus.com, offers free, ad based downloads for student, including many popular bands and labels. The second site, offers many popular bands, as well as several independent artists. There is a fee to download the music, but the first 50 songs are free, and play on mp3 player available, whereas ruckus only supports a few, not including the Ipod. [Garrett Akin]


"My computer opens files very slowly."

Solution:
The most likely problem is that your disk is fragmented.  Fragmentation occurs when you save files, create and save different files then open old files and add new material.  This continues over time as you add new files and continue to modify older files. The files become split (fragmented) all over your hard drive.  In the example below your first file was the Resume then an English paper.  You then opened the resume and added new material.  The next day you added more to the  English paper and started an Excel budget.  This continues and the time it takes to read the documents on the hard drive get slower and slower because the files or in parts all over the drive causing each part to have to be brought into memory and added together to make the whole document. The fragmented hard drive looks somewhat like this (of course the tracks or a circle on a disk not straight like this example.):

Fragmented Disk

Solution:  Click start, choose Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Defragmenter then click the Defragment button.   Let the defragment program run until the task is complete.  If you accidentally turn off your computer you could really mess up your hard drive.  The defragmented hard drive will look like this, all files will be in one piece, and the computer will be able to read them into memory much faster.  You should do this to your computer if you have lots of files

Defragmented Disk.GIF.



"How do I completely erase messages from my Runner Mail?"

 Solution:
 [Check Runner Mail: for  an illustrated description]:
Deleting old, sent, etc. mail:  Since you have limited space for messages (including attachments) in your RunnerMail account, you should periodically delete messages you no longer need (for example, I delete all class messages at the end of each quarter)

(a) Checking a Mailbox

  • Open a Mail Box and display the message list
  • Click on the left of the listed messages to flag them for deletion.  You could also just click Mark All to flag all messages.
  • Click the Delete button at the bottom of the message list

(b) Your messages are not actually deleted yet.  You must now open the Trash Can mail box click Mark All or click by specific messages then click the Delete button to completely erase the messages.

(c) You can set up RunnerMail to automatically delete any messages in the Trash Can.  Click Settings scroll down to  Trash Management, click the down arrow by Message Delete Method and make a choice.  I choose Immediately to shorten the number of steps.  If you sometimes accidentally delete something you need to recover the Immediate option is not for you.


"How do I connect to a Wireless network such as at The Oasis Center, class, Library, Cafeteria, Student Union, etc.?"

Solution:  
Just follow the steps on Connect to a Wireless Network.  You will need a password if the network is protected, OASIS is not protected at this time.

"Where can I find info about music editing?"
Solution::  
To make MP3s from records, how to edit MP3 files, etc. check this site http://www.blazeaudio.com/index.html. They are selling their software but you don't necessarily have to buy. There are many sources but this is one source that is suggested by Dr. Bombay. This site is obviously trying to sell their software but their information is good.
Contributed by: Jim R, on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 08:56 am

"Why does my computer get really hot?"

 Solution:
The exaust fan exit is probably blocked.  Beware the soft surface and the laptop. If the user places their laptop on a soft surface ( bedspread for an example) the cooling ports will be obstructed and the computer will overheat.) Solution: Don't place on cloth/soft surfaces. If the computer overheats move to a cooler place, shut down, buy one of the devices that keep laptops cool at CompUSA, Best Bur, Circuit City, etc.
Contributed by: Jim Foster, on Monday, April 19, 2004 05:38 pm