Beethoven tune could be signal that PC isn't keeping its cool

Help Line

May 29, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

I think you missed the answer to a recent inquiry about why a computer suddenly played a few bars of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." A few years ago, when I had a custom-made 200 MHz PC, I was warned that if at any time it started playing a few bars of Beethoven, I was to immediately shut it down because the song was a signal that the cooling fan had failed. That PC is still in service at my sister's home; it hasn't played any Beethoven yet, so I may never know if that fail-safe feature actually worked.

You were among a half-dozen readers to point out that certain motherboards (the circuitry where the main microprocessor gets plugged in) have a little sound chip that blurts out Beethoven if the temperature in the chip indicates that the cooling fan isn't keeping things optimally cool.

Board vendor Diamond Flower Electric Instrument Co. explains the situation at support/music.htm.

I would add that when the music starts coming out of the small system speaker on a PC (as opposed to the sound card) it means in most cases that you should fix the fan promptly but that you probably don't need to panic. Instead, give a listen and panic only if you can't hear the fan at all.

My question concerns how to protect against the ILOVEYOU attack and the other versions of this gremlin, such as Mother's Day and Joke. I am told that if we had only properly configured our Microsoft Outlook so that it wouldn't automatically execute attachments, we wouldn't have been infected with the recent "Love Bug." Well, how do I disable this feature in my home PC?

Microsoft promises to release a patch soon at www.officeupdate. that will fix the problem, but there is a way to shut down the offending code in the meantime by disabling the Windows Scripting Host that is used by Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer. This should also stop NewLove, a more complicated virus that was recently discovered.

Doing this, however, also will disable some of the graphics that get displayed at Web pages.

To disable it, you need to click on My Computer and Control Panel and Add/Remove Programs, then pick the second tab on the display: Windows Setup. In the next display choose Accessories and scroll down to where you see Windows Scripting Host. Uncheck the box next to that feature, and the code that makes the Love Bug work will be toast.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com.

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