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Windows General questions (from my mother)

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by gnutonian, 22 Feb 2010.

  1. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    I just received an e-mail from a mother asking the following questions. She uses MS Windows (XP, I think) against my advice. Knowing full well I only use free software, she still asks me about her Windows issues. Often I can solve them by searching online, now however I'm stuck. It's the person who's put up with me for 19 years, I can't leave her with her troubles - even if they're related to a proprietary system! :)

    Basically, she's saying (quite a literal translation):

    - "I've got a lot of pictures in my e-mail, maybe that's why the PC is slow."
    - "Can I burn these pictures to a CD?"
    - "How do I find if I have my CD can make CDs?"

    Her "e-mail" is Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. Can stored attachments really bog down a Windows OS that much? (Keeping in mind her friends take pictures at the maximum resolution, then send them unedited... I once received a picture from her: nearly 2MB).

    Of course she can burn them to a CD if the drive is a CD-R(W), but how can she find out if the drive is recordable or not (that may or may not be written on the drive itself)? Is there an equivalent to the lspci command (or the other one I forgot) on GNU/Linux for Windows... and/or one that's idiot-proof?

    A while ago, I did send her Diskeeper, a defrag application. I'm not sure if she's used it, though.


    My questions would be:

    - How can she clean up her Windows OS (idiot-proof) without a change of messing up the system?
    - Any chance, after a possible clean-up, of "making it faster"?

    She's 56, guys. Have mercy! :)
     
  2. outlawaol

    outlawaol Geeked since 1982

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    Mercy denied. Buy a Mac and dont look back - ever.
     
  3. dark_avenger

    dark_avenger Well-Known Member

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    The attachments won't be slowing the computer and in most cases there isen't really a simple way of speeding the computer up.

    Generally involves removing un-needed programs from start up and from the computer, making sure there is still enough free space on the HDD and a defrag.

    Not things I would suggest for a novice to be playing with.

    As for the DVD/CD drive it should be written on the actual drive in 99% of cases.
     
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  4. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    if its not written on the drive it should be written as part of the name when you go to my computer

    CCleaner will help clear things up a bit
    also run Msconfig and stop a few things under the startup tab (things like adobe acrobat and qttask piss me right off)
    after that make sure you have an uptodate AV Microsoft security essentials should cover most of your issues here.


    oh and no having large emails shouldnt hinder the computer (opther than perhaps making outlook open slightly slower) unless the harddrive is nearing capacity
     
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  5. Denis_iii

    Denis_iii New Member

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    click start>run> type "devmgmt.msc" click ok, expand "dvd/cdrom drives"
    it will give you the make/model of the CD drive and likely say wether its CD-R or not etc but if not a quick google of the make/model will tell you but it should be written on the front panel of the cd drive
    in time with useing windows it slows down, clean out temp files, reg entries, startup apps etc etc but not something a "MOM" should do.
    Might be low disk space or lots of files saved in the system root? Is Diskkeeper set to active defrag?
     
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  6. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I'll translate your tips into mom-speak and e-mail her. Rep all around!

    It's a shame she lives in a different country, else I could just go over there, install gNS or Debian when she's not looking and run away. :)

    It doesn't look like a default option in the version she's got, but seems like a good idea. I've found an explanation on how to set the options in Diskeeper, I'll try to explain them to her... Wish me luck!
     
  7. brooksy

    brooksy New Member

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    why cant you set up a remote desk top?
     
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  8. Southern

    Southern Lovable Internet Nutcase

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    Actually I kind of agree with the GETAMAC answer here. OSX has enough of a learning curve for even the most idiotic of users to get used to and as a lot of the software is engineered to work in exactly the same manner (iTunes, iPhoto etc) it's easy to pick up on how to use it.

    Making it faster could involve running CCLeaner on the machine every once and a while, I find that to be an excellent program for getting rid of some of the gunk of a windows XP machine. Plus it is straightforward to use.

    http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner

    FREE DOWNLOAD AHOY!
     
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  9. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    Because I'm useless when it comes to Windows, have old (read: crap) RAM/CPU which probably wouldn't be able to handle the load and if I do everything, she won't learn. (Read: revenge for her saying that twenty years ago.) ;)

    Apparently she's now managed to get a trojan.

    So... Debian or gNewSense? Or Gentoo or Slackware? :hehe:
     
  10. Denis_iii

    Denis_iii New Member

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    try logmein.com, takes 5mins to setup an account and even less to add new pc's to the account for remote access + its free and browser based
     
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  11. livesabitch

    livesabitch life is what you make it!

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    was just thinking the same thing! then he could sort it out there and then! :idea:
     
  12. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    Cool, will have to have a look at that! Thanks.
     
  13. brianthebrian

    brianthebrian Bunmeister

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    If problems persist, she's probably got a set of recovery disks somewhere - full factory restore, then let Windows Update do the rest - and she'll probably find it's a lot more responsive (plus you won't have to work out what the problem was).

    The only downside - and it's a massive one in these circumstances - is the loss of data and/or software she's got used to using. If it's all on e-mails that shouldn't be a problem, but she might have lots of local data in different places (e.g. if different photo editing apps have saved her photos to different locations, without her knowing or caring).

    Shame really, my mum's pc would also benefit from factory restore, but I'm not going to touch that with a barge pole for same reason !

    Good luck with it all.
     
  14. nitrous9200

    nitrous9200 New Member

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    How about having her use online webmail if possible and using flash drives rather than burning to CD's. Now that would make things a lot simpler!
    That's what I do with customers that are having trouble with Outlook; rather than waste time going through mountains of settings, checking server names and user accounts and recreating profiles, I just show them how to get to their ISP or email provider's webmail which always works (interface is usually better than Outlook, too, in my opinion).
    As for checking CD burner capability, have her download and install Speccy if she's savvy enough. Running that program will bring a simple overview of the hardware, and clicking Optical Drives shows more detail; the Capabilities field should read something like "Random Access, Supports Writing, Supports Removable Media" (should be self-explanatory, if it says Supports Writing then it can burn).
    I highly recommend LogMeIn but also like LogMeIn Express, which is more of a one time thing but you can use it for maintenance and even setting up the real LogMeIn, though doing it this way means one less program running and slowing down that computer.
     
  15. gnutonian

    gnutonian New Member

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    brianthebrian: I have no idea if they have recovery disks or not. Although that would be easy, once we get past the "no, not the mouse, the button on the CD drive!" and my subsequent suicide.
    For now it's just "slow" (plus at least one trojan) but yeah... if it comes to a reinstall, though, I'm sending her a CD with instructions and a list of package names. :)

    They still have the same ISP they had when I left (or the ISP doesn't delete ex-customers' e-mail accounts), and they do have webmail... It's an interesting idea; if their mail server's down she wouldn't be getting any mail through Outlook anyway.
    And then she has to comply with their data limit so has to download pictures and whatever old ladies send eachother properly (i.e. to a folder), instead of those all being "in the e-mails" (argh).


    I haven't had a proper look at LogMeIn yet (mainly because my mother hasn't replied yet. Maybe she finally took the hammer to the PC), but I will in the next few days (I think). I'll definitely will have to have a look at LogMeIn Express, too, then - it sounds cool.

    And there's only one way a USB-cable fits into its slot, and the slot is obvious, and you (generally) only need two tries because of the obvious shape and yes, I am so recommending that.

    Plug in, open folder, click and drag! I think it's only now that I've realised just how awesome USB drives are. CD drives can go burn in hell. (God, I crack myself up sometimes!)
     
  16. mrcizzo

    mrcizzo New Member

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