My External Drive Is No Longer Visible. How Can I Get Its Contents?

//
My husband is running Windows 7,64-bit. He has a secondary drive, 1 TB that has been on there for some time. He recently turned his machine on and the drive was no longer showing as being available. We have tried externally plugging the drive into another machine and it’s still not registering. Is it recoverable in any way?

There are several possible problems here. None of them are particularly simple to diagnose or resolve, but I’ll run through some of the ideas that I have.

Read moreMy External Drive Is No Longer Visible. How Can I Get Its Contents?

Can I backup one computer to another?

//
I checked your information on backing up, but I didn’t see anything with regards to how you physically connect one machine to another. Do you use a cable or is it done over a network? I tried using a cable for one desktop to my laptop, but I couldn’t see the other machine’s drives on my laptop. Both machines use Windows 7. I have EaseUs ToDo for the software that I’m using. I’m willing to try whatever you suggest.

There are a couple of ways to do what you’re suggesting. I’ll recommend something to you that I do, but for most folks, I suggest something else first.

Read moreCan I backup one computer to another?

How can I prevent someone from installing random stuff?

//

My nonagenarian father loves his Windows 7, 64-bit computer. As he slows down and finds it harder to get out and about, his PC and its connectivity are  his portal to the larger world. The problem is that he’s tempted by every pop-up and/or free application he encounters especially for those that promise to speed up his machine, repair his registry, electrify your internet connection and dramatically improve your system’s performance, so not only is his hard drive full of crapware, but I worry about the security threats that his curiosity invites on to his machine.

I visit him frequently and we spend a lot of time cleaning out these programs. But sure enough, he’s reinstalled the same programs between visits. I’ve lectured him but these explanations have about as much impact on him as his lectures did on me 50-odd years ago. Now, I suppose I could lock down user account control so that he couldn’t install anything, but I think that would be an unacceptable affront to his explorations and his dignity. So, do you have any potential solutions? Ideally, I’d like to remotely manage his system so that he can explore the net and software and I can learn of and correct his frequent misadventures.

I love hearing about people in your father’s situation who have discovered the ways that the internet and technology can open their world. That he’s in his nineties is just awesome.

That being said, I can certainly understand that a little restraint on his part might be appreciated. Let’s talk about some ideas.

Read moreHow can I prevent someone from installing random stuff?

What is InstallShield and Do I Need its Update Service?

//

Recently, I did a scan with Autoruns from Microsoft Sysinternals to see what I was loading at log on. I have a program called “ISUSPM.exe” loading at log on. I do not remember seeing it before so I did a search – and answers at Microsoft.com states that it’s “InstallShield Update Service Scheduler” and it searches for updates for software on my computer. It stated that it’s not needed and it can be unchecked/removed from starting at login. Have you seen this? What is it? What software does it update? Where did it come from? Do I need it? Can I safely remove it without leaving my software vulnerable?

InstallShield has been around for years and it’s certainly nothing malicious. In fact, most people have probably already used its software at one point or another.

InstallShield is the set up and installation technology that’s used by many other software vendors to write the set-up programs for their products.

Read moreWhat is InstallShield and Do I Need its Update Service?

Why Does My Sound Quality Degrade over Time?

//
I have Windows 7, 64-bit, on an Asus motherboard with 8 GB of RAM. This issue is about my onboard sound. The sound degrades the longer the desktop is left on. By the fourth day, I’m getting static, audio dropouts, and even a sluggish wired mouse. As soon as I reboot, these issues disappear until two or three days later. I added a Diamond sound card which made matters worse, especially the static. Now, I’m back to my onboard sound. I’m at my wits’ end. I’ve been getting advice like “move the sound card” but there is no separate sound card and why would rebooting eliminate the problem?

This sounds like a software problem, possibly one that’s not related to your sound hardware at all.

Before I discuss how to deal with that, let’s check something.

Read moreWhy Does My Sound Quality Degrade over Time?

Why Might an Uninstalled Program Still Be Listed?

//
I’m running Windows XP, SP3, fully updated. I was running AVG anti-virus free edition 2012 until I uninstalled it when I started using Microsoft Security Essentials. Belarc Advisor still lists AVG anti-virus with real-time file scanning turned on. Speccy lists similar information and states that the virus signature database is up to date. Both also show Microsoft Security Essentials as being up and running. I downloaded and ran the AVG 2012 uninstall program and used search/Windows Explorer to find and delete any remaining AVG files. Belarc Advisor and Speccy still say that AVG free edition 2012 is still installed, up to date, and real-time scanning. Do you have any suggestions how I can overcome this problem?

Let me begin by asking this question: is this really a problem?

I get that it’s an annoyance. I wouldn’t expect those utilities to show something that you have so clearly and thoroughly uninstalled.

The problem is that the solutions we have aren’t really as clean as we might want them to be. If we want to actually clean this out completely, that involves a little risk.

Read moreWhy Might an Uninstalled Program Still Be Listed?