I am having a sporadic problem with my monitor screen image "fluttering" ... jumping up, back down, sometimes in rapid-fire succession. Tech support contact with Dell has not led to a solution, which makes me wonder if the problem is with my Internet provider (BellSouth) instead. Is this common? Easily fixed?
- Bob Patton, Kennesaw, Ga.
I doubt that the problem has anything to do with your Internet provider. Here are the usual causes (of course, I can't tell if any of these apply to you since I'm not sitting at the computer.):
1. If the monitor is a cathode ray tube type (the old-fashioned picture tube) monitor, it could be sitting too close to an electrical device that's causing problems. Also, devices that contain magnets, including poorly shielded speakers, can do this.
2. Connectors from the monitor to the PC might be loose or going bad.
3. The computer's video card could be bad.
4. The monitor itself could be going bad.
These are more likely causes than the Internet service.
Help from a reader: Over the past several years, I have replaced three hard drives, and none of them was defective. Here's why:
I had disabled both floppy and CD boot options in the setup routine in order to speed up booting from the hard drive. Most of the time this worked just great, but not always. Frequently I would get the terrorizing diagnostic that the hard drive could not be found and might be failing. Off to the store to get a new drive.
I even put a new BIOS battery in the machine, also a waste.
After three replacements, I realized that the drives were not yet up to speed when they were called up by the boot process too soon, and by returning to the standard boot sequence, I fixed the problem. Anybody want to buy a good 80-gigabyte hard drive? I have two. Just joking. Maybe this will be a help to other readers who are in the same boat.
- Charlie Rucker
Editor's note: You may recall that an earlier column chronicled the woes of a reader who had precious information stored on floppy discs that had been created with an antique Apple Plus. Well, readers from all over scrambled to remove those old machines from attics and basements. I'll put the reader in touch with some of these kind folks so that he can arrange to have the information transferred to a disc that can be read on his PC.
Another reader offered the information that a Web site (www.vintagetech.com) offers a for-pay service if the reader prefers to go that route.
Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.