New G.Fast technology could make a big difference for an Internet subscriber on Whidbey Island, Patrick Marshall writes, but it would depend on distance from the nearest telephone exchange. He also has answers concerning a long-running script and a Windows 10 problem with Excel.
Q: We live on Whidbey Island and 1.5 megabits per second is the most we can get from our Internet service, which is delivered over our telephone line. I’ve heard that a new technology — G.Fast — is about to be available that will make it possible to have much faster speeds over telephone lines. What do you think?
— D. Ketchum, Whidbey Island
A: When it makes its way to service providers, G.Fast is expected to deliver speeds between 150 Mbps and 1 gigabit per second, so at a minimum you’d be getting your pages around 100 times faster.
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The drawback to G.Fast is that the speed it delivers is tied to the distance between your location and the nearest telephone exchange. Once your service provider supports G.Fast, you’ll need to contact it to find out how close your house is to the nearest substation. That will help determine what level of service you might expect.
Q: For months, my HP laptop has been showing a small rotating ring intermittently, and it has been getting worse (longer). I can’t use the computer when the ring is showing.
The icon for Avast in the taskbar also rotates at times when the ring on the screen is not. I sometimes get a message that a long-running script is causing the problem. When I shut down, there is a brief message that there is a program running in the background.
I am stumped. I took the laptop to a guy with 30 years’ experience working on computers, and he said he had never encountered such a thing and he couldn’t fix it. The problem seems to reset when the computer is off, allowing me a limited time to use it after I boot up. Any ideas?
— Bill Hamilton
A: It sounds like the problem stems from a script that launches either through an add-on that has been installed in your browser or by visiting a website that launches the script.
My first suggestion is to try a different browser and see if the problem goes away. If the problem is gone in the new browser, but you still want to use the problematic browser, I’d suggest disabling your add-ons and then enabling them one by one to see which one is causing the problem.
If you encounter the problem in the new browser when you visit certain websites, I’d avoid those sites.
Q: I purchased Microsoft Office 2013 (2016 was not released then) because I didn’t think my Office 2000 would run on Windows 10, even though it worked fine on my Windows 7.
Twice last summer, I tried Windows 10 and had to revert to Windows 7 because Excel would not open. It asks if I want to repair or close, but it never fixes itself, and I’ve tried repair through the Control Panel, too. I spent hours on the phone with Microsoft. No fix.
Since its been so long since Windows 10 was released, I tried it again last week. Same thing. Nothing works with Excel. Word works OK. After one hour of getting nowhere with Microsoft, I again went back to Windows 7. Any clues?
— Dave Woehning, Cottonwood, Ariz.
A: There is a fix that may solve your problem. Start any of your Office 2013 applications and then click on the File option in the menu bar. Next select Account/Update Options and then Update Now. After the update, Excel should open fine.