>Q: I'm having problems with Internet Explorer 8 on my Windows 7 PC, even though I'm current with all software updates. If I click on a link within a Web page, I get an error message and no connection. But if I copy the link and paste it into the IE 8 address window, it works. There seem to be many people in online forums with this problem, but I can't find a Microsoft solution. Any suggestions, other than changing Web browsers?
A: Microsoft acknowledges that "some website features do not work" with Internet Explorer 8 because the websites were designed to work with previous versions of the program. But it offers a work-around called "compatibility view" that involves changing the program's settings for one or more websites. See support.microsoft.com/kb/956197.
I suggest you replace Internet Explorer 8 with another browser, such as Mozilla Firefox (find it at www.mozilla.com) or Google Chrome (www.google.com/chrome).
Note: Don't uninstall IE 8 before downloading an alternate browser. Unlike previous versions of Windows, which reverted to IE 7 if the IE 8 upgrade was uninstalled, Windows 7 comes with IE 8 preinstalled rather than as an upgrade. If you uninstall it before getting a substitute, you'll have no browser at all.
>Q: I took videos of my grandchildren with my HP Photosmart M425 camera, but they won't play on my HP PC (Windows Vista, 64-bit) using Windows Media Player, RealPlayer or DivX player. How can I make my HP camera compatible with my HP PC?
A: Try downloading the "codec" (coder-decoder) software for your camera at www.free-codecs.com, or downloading current software drivers at www.tinyurl.com/4pgbq86. Or just download Apple's free QuickTime video player at www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.
>Q: The cooling fan on my wife's desktop PC, a Compaq Presario SR2170NX, seems to run far more often than is necessary, sometimes nonstop. Any suggestions?
A: I bet there's dust buildup inside your 4-year-old PC that makes it harder for the fan to expel the computer-generated heat. Buy a can of compressed air, open up the PC case and blow out the accumulated dust. Just don't get too close to the main circuit board with the powerful air blast. For details on opening the PC's case, see "Step 3: Open the access panel" at www.tinyurl.com/4tn7gop.
If that doesn't work, you can buy a replacement fan for $25 at www.tinyurl.com/4d4kfgo.
>Q: I used the Malwarebytes program you suggested and found a virus. Now I want to know what's running on my PC. What files run during Windows XP start-up, and where do they come from?
A: I hope you like bizarre file names. To learn the sequence in which an alphabet soup of programs, such as "boot.ini" (contains PC configuration options), are loaded during Windows XP start-up, see http://tinyurl.com/327jzfy/. To see which background programs, or processes, run during normal PC operations, find them by clicking the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys simultaneously, then selecting the "processes" tab. Then compare their odd names, such as "svchost.exe" (decides what the PC ought to be doing at any given moment) to a list of process definitions at http://tinyurl.com/1yy4/.
>Q: My Windows XP PC, a 4-year-old Compaq Presario with 512 megabytes of RAM (random access memory), is very slow. Quite often the RAM is 100 percent used up. Any suggestions?
A: You need more RAM memory; the amount you have is barely enough to run today's software. You can upgrade your PC or buy a new one.
You can upgrade your PC to 3 gigabytes of RAM, which you can buy online and install yourself for less than $150. (See http://tinyurl.com/28guylt/.) A repair shop is likely to charge more than $200 for parts and labor.
For less than $400, you can buy a new desktop PC with 3 GB of RAM, better graphics, faster speed and a newer operating system.