Some problems just aren't worth solving

Some computer problems aren't worth solving. I call these the 'weird' problems. A lot of these are discussed at Friday morning's 'Coffee and Computers.'

Many of these problems seem to appear for no apparent reason. They just happen.

Somebody just installed a new version of Windows on his machine and, under "My Computer," the 'C' hard drive couldn't be accessed. Click on Open and nothing happens. No problem accessing the drive using Windows Explorer. Could the problem be fixed? Probably, but it may require reinstalling Windows. This is time consuming and would require reinstalling the other programs on the machine.

The consensus was, leave the problem alone. It wasn't worth fixing because you still could accomplish the same result using Windows Explorer.

Another person uninstalled a program and then got an error message about a 'missing dll' whenever she restarted her computer. Again, the consensus was to just click 'ok' and keep computing since nothing else seemed to be wrong.

Actually, many of these weird problems may be solvable but the solution can be so complicated that it isn't worth all the work. It is an annoyance when these problems occur, but in most cases, everything else works just fine. So we leave them alone.

For the more adventuresome, I suggest tracking down the problems on the Internet, that wonderful place where the answers to almost everything reside.

For Microsoft users, the best place to start is with "," the Web page where you can access the Microsoft Knowledge Base. By selecting the problem program and entering a keyword, a database of similar problems is searched. In many cases, this database already has a solution to your problem. If it does, print out a copy of the article and follow the directions.

For more weird problems, go to the newsgroups. For the Windows problem, try "microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion," or one of the other specific Microsoft groups. My own computer lists 25,387 newsgroups. I don't look in all of these, but there are approximately 100 that deal with Microsoft. Select a newsgroup, download the headers and browse the questions already posted. Somebody may already have the same problem and received a possible solution. If not, 'post' your own question and check back later to see if you have received an answer.

You might even try, the popular web search engine. Enter the problem keywords and see what comes up.

Lastly, don't forget to visit with the group at 'Coffee and Computers' any Friday morning. This is where many of the weird problems come up as well as possible solutions.

A lot of these weird problems do have solutions if you search long and hard enough.

Of course, some problems can't be solved over the Internet or at 'Coffee and Computers.' If something really causes your computer not to work and is not just an inconvenience, take it to Con Tran at Universal Computer Service, 2124 N. Tustin Avenue, Santa Ana, 714.564.1686. He has enough equipment and software in his shop to solve most problems.

If you would like to hear more about weird problems, or other computer topics, visit "Coffee and Computers" at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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