Spring Cleaning

Triple Play

Some computer prob-lems seem to get everyone's blood boiling. Here's a look at three of the most common computer frustrations and how to end them.

  • Slow modem access. With the Internet playing a larger role in business, sluggish access can be a real time-waster. If you're stuck in the slow lane, consider upgrading to a 56 Kbps modem. It will speed up the process significantly, especially if you're used to a 28.8 Kbps modem. The only dilemma: There are several competing standards, including K56flex and 3Com's x2, so be sure to call your ISP to find out which standard it supports. (At press time, vendors were nearing an agreement that would establish a standard.) You may also want to try switching ISPs to see if you get faster access.
  • Waiting on hold with tech support lines. If you can't reach a live person to solve your tech problems, take matters into your own hands. Check out the company's Web site to get answers to FAQs. Consider investigating other resources such as books and CD-ROMs, as well as online user groups. Also, if you have the time, call back when operators aren't so busy (preferably early in the morning or late at night).
  • Unidentifiable problems. You'd fix the problem--if you only knew what was wrong! In such cases, rely on programs like Quarterdeck's Real Help ($39.95, 800-683-6696, http://www.quarterdeck.com) that actually cure problems caused by PC crashes, hard-drive failures and more. Real Help has features that find solutions to common software and hardware problems and warn of any probable conflicts before you install new software. Also, familiarize yourself with the most common error messages and what they mean.

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