Your technical problems tackled

16th April 1999 at 01:00
Q When I install new software on my Windows PC, it often resets the computer in an annoying manner. How can I avoid this?

A If you find that your computer doesn't work with your existing software as it did before the installation - or sometimes not at all - then join the club. It's hard to avoid so you need to take precautions.

The problem is often that the new software rewrites important system files that are used to define the way the machine starts up, its configuration, and the way it starts Windows. These files are called autoexec.bat, config.sys, and win,ini. To guard against these unwanted changes to your system, always back up these three important files before installing new software, at least then you'll be able to put the system back as it was before the rogue software caused the problem.

Q My iMac doesn't want to deal with my Epson printer. How do I get them talking to each other again?

A Software is usually at the root of most computer problems. There has been a lot of fuss about Apple's new iMac not working well with external devices, Epson printers in particular. This is mostly to do with the fact that some of these external devices didn't have the right (ie the most up-to-date) software.

The new iMac uses the USB connections (universal serial bus), which is a relatively new standard, to run peripherals. If your peripheral supplier doesn't have a printer driver to make use of the USB port then it's not going to work. Much worse than that, if you use an inappropriate printer driver the computer may also not work. I recently downloaded the new Mac Pac 2 software for the Palm III organiser and found that it needed a piece of software called a USB patch which I then had to download (copy) from the manufacturers' website.

A lot of firms now have comprehensive libraries of software drivers on their websites which are a veritable godsend for people who are suffering from incompatibility problems. Epson is no exception, so if you are having problems with your iMac, pay the website a visit.

Epson printer drivers can be downloaded from Q The message "General Protection Fault" is starting to really get on my wick and is becoming something of a cause for concern as it is happening with frightening regularity. How can I get rid of this message and its ensuing mayhem forever?

A The most common software problem as well as being the Windows curse, "General Protection Fault" is also probably the most annoying one; particularly annoying because it happens so often and does not really tell you what the solution is.

The common wisdom is that if you fit more memory it will go away... for a while. If you fit loads of memory it will probably go away forever. If anybody else out there has any other methods of getting round this fault please write to me at the address given below.

Questions are answered by Les Watson

If you have any computer problems you can't solve, write to Qamp;A, TESOnline, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY or

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