Friday, November 24, 2017
News Roundup

Solutions: Getting audio jacks, SD reader to work

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I have an Acer 5620z laptop running Windows Vista. In the front of the laptop are three audio jacks and a slot for a camera card. None of these are working. I have tried to activate them using Device Manager, but they do not show up. How can I activate these devices?

The audio headphone/microphone jacks are going to be controlled by your sound card and the SD reader would normally show under Disk drives within Device Manager. Even though your laptop is out of warranty, you should check to see if there is a BIOS update for your particular model on the Acer board support website. If there is, it will have the instructions on how to do the update (flash the BIOS). If that doesn't solve your problem, try this: There could be "ghost" devices (devices that were at one time installed/connected then removed) that don't show in Device Manager and they may be causing conflicts preventing these devices from showing. Open a command prompt (Start, Run, Cmd) and type: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press Enter. This creates an environment variable.

You should just see another prompt. In the same command window, type: start devmgmt.msc and press Enter. This will start the Device Manager. Click View, Show hidden devices. If you see any devices that you know are no longer present, uninstall them.

If you can now see the missing sound/audio and SD disk devices, double-click these devices and then click the Driver tab, then Update Driver. If this does not solve the issue, repeat but this time choose uninstall. Then right-click the top of the Device Manager tree (your computer name) and select Scan for changes. This should reload the current drivers and perhaps fix the problem.

I have a question regarding a file called "ehthumbs.exe". When I try to make a backup CD of a digital photo file I get the following message: "The file ehthumbs has extra information attached to it that might be lost if you continue copying. The contents of the file will not be affected. Do you want to copy the file anyway?" Then after I have tried, I get a defective disc message. I have a Dell Dimension ES10 desktop and run Windows XP, SP3. I use McAfee Security System and they haven't mentioned it as a problem when they do their weekly scan. I also ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and they haven't mentioned it as a problem either. Is this file a virus? Should I get rid of it? I found a software program called RegUtility which claims to fix ehthumbs.exe errors.

I'm pretty sure "ehthumbs.exe" is a virus. The fact that those various antivirus scans are not finding it may indicate that the virus is already controlling those programs and is able to hide itself from them. You need to boot to a stand-alone image and run a scan without loading Windows. Microsoft Defender Offline allows you to do this by creating a bootable CD with the antivirus scanner built-in. Go to www.tinyurl.com/tbt11 to read more about this process and to make your CD.

Send questions to [email protected] or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

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