Technical questions I’ve been asked recently – October 2012

I get asked many ‘working from home’ and technical support questions each month. So I thought I would share some of the questions, answers and importantly the results with you. All the answers I provided below were implemented, and worked for those people, as mentioned in the accompanying results.

I’m not saying any answer below will work specifically for you, as often there is more than one answer to a question. Sometimes I had to qualify the problem further, to provide the correct answer for the person asking.

Q. Can I extend my Wi-Fi network to an upstairs room?

A. Yes you can, and there are a few ways to accomplish this. First of all, if the current wireless signal is too weak, try moving your router to a new location. Else you could buy a wireless repeater to extend the current network, by placing the wifi extender in a location in-between the current wireless router and the location which now requires access.

Result: A Netgear wireless extender was setup at a location closer to the room, that required the wireless connection. Also laptops have been configured with the ‘extended’ network SSID, and connect to either the main wireless router or the repeater, based upon strongest signal.

Q. My laptop screen is blank! How can I turn it on again?

A. It turns out the laptop was plugged into a monitor already via a vga lead. It could be that the laptop is choosing to only output via the vga connection. Try pressing the FN key and then a F key with a monitor icon or word similar to LCD, located on the key. Typically the icon or words will be alongside a numeric key. You might have to do this a few times, to cycle through different display modes.

Result: They pressed FN and the correct screen key once on their laptop, and the screen came to life!

Q. Why does my powerline network adapter connection keep dropping?

A. It is because the powerline adapters are suffering interference from other plugs and adapters on the same power blocks. Try moving one or both powerline adapters to their own dedicated socket, directly in the wall, and don’t place them on power blocks / extension leads.

Result: They removed one of the powerline network adapters from a power block, and plugged directly into a wall, and it worked perfectly after that.

Q. Why does my desktop computer case sounding like a jumbo jet taking off at times, but is quiet at other times?

A. To qualify further, I asked some questions, and it turns out the computer didn’t always make that noise. It is most likely the PSU (power supply unit) instead the computer, that supplies power to the motherboard, hard drive and cd-rom and other devices. It also could be a CPU or graphics card fan.

Result: In that person’s specific situation, it turned out to be the PSU making the noise, and it is shortly being replaced.

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