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CNET Membership newsletter November 5, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
This week's question by Jim was a two-part problem, and more than likely the two parts are not related to one another. So, to lessen the confusion, I broke down the winning answer into two parts, one for the defragging issue and the other for the problem of the computer turning on by itself. Following each individual solution, I also included the honorable mentions that applied. I hope everyone finds these submissions helpful.

I also would like to thank all of you readers for your participation. Your submissions have kept me very busy, and I enjoy reading them. If you have not sent in anything yet, I encourage you to do so; you never know if your question or answer will appear in next week's newsletter.

1I run Windows XP Pro and am experiencing a couple of problems with my computer. I use Windows Update regularly. After doing an update, I usually defrag the hard drive. However, I now receive a message saying that the hard drive cannot be defragged. What is the cause of this, and how can I solve the problem? Also, I find at various times of the day or night that my computer turns on all by itself. What causes this, and how do I get it to stop?

--Submitted by: Jim H.

Defrag issues: The defrag problem can have numerous possible causes. Also, there's more than one issue going on here (and a lot of the answer depends on how your system was built to begin with). So, we'll tackle these problems one at a time. A couple of scenarios could cause you to be unable to defrag your hard drive, and each of them is very specific.

1. The main key here is that you said this happened after you did an update. The best way to see if it was that particular Windows XP Hotfix is to uninstall the actual Hotfix that caused the issue. To achieve this, go to Start > Setting > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs and... Read more

  Click here for the Honorable mentions for this topic.

Computer turns on by itself: The ghost machine that turns itself on and off is a fairly common problem. When a computer mysteriously does this, it's a BIOS issue. If you are unfamiliar with the system BIOS, read a couple of the previous articles about changing BIOS settings and be sure to see the note below.

You typically enter BIOS by restarting your computer and immediately pressing the Delete key repeatedly until you enter the BIOS Utility Screen (usually in blue). The fix is fairly easy.
1. Once in BIOS, go to Power Options (refer to the owner's manual if you do not know where it is).
2. Scroll down to Wake On LAN... Read more

  Click here for the Honorable mentions for this topic.

--Submitted by Thomas L. of Silverton, Oregon, USA

For Thomas's efforts, we’re sending him his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

I use Outlook Express for e-mail. When I forward an e-mail message with pictures in it, the recipients see only boxes with red Xs in them, not pictures. What causes this, and are there any settings I can change that will allow the pictures to show up?

--Submitted by: Ron R.

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines and check out our previous Q&As here.

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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1 Newbie buying on eBay--any advice?
Over the years, eBay has grown tremendously popular--on any given day, millions of items are bought and sold through this online auction venue, and it has become a huge part of the e-commerce world. If you're looking to jump on the eBay bandwagon but feel a bit reserved about dealing with complete strangers in this auction environment, check out some advice our members are offering for the new eBay user. These tips will prove to be invaluable. More from the Computer Newbies Forum

1 High-speed" dial-up: myth or reality?
If any of you are using high-speed dial-up, please help us discover exactly what the improvements are and how they achieve higher speeds. Is it truly faster, or are these ISP companies just blowing smoke up our alley? More from the Dial-up Forum

1 Digital camera battery packs--OK to go generic?
OEM (original equipment manufacturer) digital camera batteries can be quite expensive. So many people turn to other generic-brand batteries. But are they better or worse? If you use off-brand batteries for your camera, are they worth it, or is better to stick with OEM? Find out what others are saying. More from the Digital Cameras Forum

1 Is IncrediMail safe to install and use?
Many people turn to IncrediMail to spice up their boring e-mail format with interesting graphics and backgrounds. But is it safe to use this e-mail utility? Some members say it has spyware or adware in it. Is it true? Find out what others are saying, and if you use IncrediMail already, tell us what you think of it. More from the Viruses & Security Alerts Forum

1 Mac nugget: Should I get a Mac or a PC?
Yeah, I know this topic is getting old, but come on, folks, you and I know this debate will never die. So here's a deal for you: Whaddaya say we put this discussion to an end in these forums with some truly passionate and intelligent posts as to why this member should choose a Mac over a PC or vice versa. If the turnouts are great, I promise never to mention this topic in my newsletter again, ever!
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