Q: As I am typing this, a random radio broadcast is coming through my monitor's speakers. My computer seems to be somehow capturing a radio signal. What can I do to prevent this?
Q: As I am typing this, a random radio broadcast is coming through my monitor’s speakers. My computer seems to be somehow capturing a radio signal. What can I do to prevent this?
— Cheryl Frizzell, Mercer Island
A: The most likely cause is the wiring that connects your speakers to your computer. Most such wiring is not well-shielded and can pick up radio signals as well as signals from portable phones and other devices.
And, by the way, the longer the wiring to your speakers is, the more prone it is to interference. The wiring essentially acts as an antenna.
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What can you do about it? Try simply moving the wiring and the speakers a bit. That may be enough.
If the problem remains, and if you’ve got a lot of unneeded length of wiring between the computer and the speakers, try coiling the wire and tying it together. That will cut down on its effective length as an antenna.
Next, you could replace the wire with another wire that has better shielding. Finally, you might want to try adding ferrite clamps, or rings, to the wiring. You place the clamp around the wire close to the speaker. You can find the clamps at Radio Shack.
Q: We have a new Dell computer we purchased in March 2008. The problem: We cannot access spell-checker through MSN Explorer. We get an error message that we do not have the correct dictionary installed. Spell-checker works fine with our Office 2007 programs but not e-mail.
I have been working this problem for months. Between Microsoft and Dell, I have not been able to get this situation resolved. I even hired a local techie to look at it, to no avail.
— Joy Brimhall, Burien
A: Yes, that is a known problem with MSN Explorer and with Outlook Express, as well. When Microsoft brought out Office 2007, it included a new spell-checker that is not compatible with MSN Explorer or Outlook Express.
Unfortunately, those two applications were designed to use the spell-check in Office. Until Microsoft offers a fix, there are only three options.
First, you can switch to another Web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
Second, you can install a previous version of the Office spell-checker, if you still have the discs available.
Third, you can install a third-party spell-checker. You’ll find a number of them by searching the Internet.
Q: One of the computers at our office is not permitting Windows XP Service Pack 3 to be installed. It starts the process normally, but when it gets to the file beethov9.wmv, it cannot install it, and will not permit the installation to complete without installing it. I have tried every one of the five remedies at the SP3 information site provided by Microsoft, first one at a time and then making sure everything was done properly — with all other programs exited, fresh download, reboot, even went so far as to defrag and do disk cleanup and then run Chkdsk.
What would you suggest next?
— Frank Mitchell, Seattle
A: After some checking around, the best I can figure is this: It seems the problem arises when a computer has been configured such that the user attempting to install the update does not have the right to access the folder where that file is to be stored. It’s kind of silly that this should stop the installation since beethov9.wmv is a decidedly noncritical multimedia file. But there you have it.
The fix? Log on as administrator and take control of the following folder: C:\Documents and Settings\All users\Documents\My Music\Sample Music. Find the steps for taking control of a folder at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308421&sd=tech.
Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.