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Solutions: How to get CD drive working properly

I am kind of behind on all this ripping and burning and such. I am trying to rip from my CD drive on my eMachine with Windows XP. When I try to rip a CD, I get this little box on the screen that has ripper in the upper left corner and a message that says, "No CDROM/DVDROM drive found."

How do I get a drive to rip CDs and DVDs?

First, make sure that your system recognizes that the CD drive is there. Do you see it in My Computer and can you read other CDs/DVDs? If it does, there could be an issue with the device drivers or the associated registry entries. Go to support.microsoft.com/mats/cd_dvd_drive_problems and run the automatic "Fix it" provided on that page.

I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium and Office Home 2010. About the same time as I installed what might be an "older" (W95/98?) game, whenever Excel is initially opened, it opens in a very small window in a lower corner of the screen. I resize it for use, but after closing, it will always initially open in that small size and location. There's also one of the spreadsheets I frequently use that now no longer opens from the list of Excel spreadsheets; I have to either open that one spreadsheet from Windows Explorer or first open Excel, then open it.

If you are grabbing the edge of the Excel window and then stretching it out to the desired size, it should remember that when you run it next. Maximizing the window doesn't have the same effect. If you suspect that the older game you installed clobbered a shared system DLL, you can try doing a System Restore to a point before that install. It's always a good idea to create a System Restore point before installing any software or hardware.

I have an older PC my son built that is time to upgrade to a new one. I am having issues with the XP software and Microsoft updates will not work. What would you recommend for people who basically use a PC for email and Web surfing? I don't want to get a cheapo, but I also don't want to spend money for a Mercedes. Something dependable and easy to use for "seniors."

You have a lot of options. I like HP and Lenovo (IBM), Dells are okay and I prefer laptops to desktops. Most PCs are basically made with the same parts from the same sources, so in my opinion support is an important feature. If you stick to the name brands, you will be okay. Keep in mind that even the low-end offerings of today are orders of magnitude faster than your XP PC, so there is no need to overspend for a top-level machine. For processors (CPU), I3 is the low end, I5 the middle and I7 at the top. I would recommend getting at least an I5. Something else you may want to consider is a tablet or iPad. If all you do is email and Web surf, the simplicity and convenience can't be beat. I'm the world's worst typist, but I found typing on the tablets to be easier than a regular keyboard.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: How to get CD drive working properly 09/30/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 30, 2012 4:30am]
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