Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week
Q: Have you done a review of anti-virus software recently? I’m coming up on a renewal date for Kaspersky and want to explore other options. No problem with Kaspersky in the past.
— John Berg
A: No, I haven’t done a review of anti-virus software recently. There have been rumors about Kaspersky being tied to the Russian government. In fact, in 2017 Congress passed legislation banning Kaspersky software from federal government computers.
Do you have an internet service provider? Most ISPs offer free anti-virus software that is generally adequate or better. I use the free Norton suite offered by my ISP.
Related Tech Q&AsRead more from Patrick Marshall here >>
Q: I am retired and my hobby has been sourcing music from my library of CDs, ripping them and then burning various combinations for my own interests. I have been doing this without problem for years. The problem is that now, after running fine for years, Windows Media Player does not recognize the disc in drive. I have looked online and have tried some of the fixes I’ve found to no avail.
— Kenn Strong
A: What version of Windows are you using? Did the problem crop up after a Windows update? Does File Explorer see the drive and recognize files on it? If there have been no changes in the operating system, and if File Explorer also can’t access the drive, the most likely cause of the problem is that the drive is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
Q: I have a basic 8-inch laptop made by NuVision. It is running Windows 10 and connects to the internet through a Wi-Fi connection to my Century Link router … most of the time. This is not my primary computing device. I use a desktop Dell PC connected via Ethernet, a Dell laptop connected via Wi-Fi and occasionally an Android cellphone also connected via Wi-Fi.
My problem is that sometimes the laptop will not allow me to get to the internet. When I start it up it says it is connected to the network but “no internet secured.” When this happens all my other devices can connect to the internet just fine. When I tell the tablet to disconnect then reconnect to my network, it displays “checking network requirements” and in 30 seconds or so successfully connects. But still no internet secured. When I look at network status it shows the tablet connected to my network but a dashed line between it and the globe icon. It says, “Your device is connected but you might not be able to access anything on the network.”
The only way I have found to resolve this is to turn off the router and then restart it. Effective but I’m thinking there should be a more elegant way to resolve this by changing a setting on the tablet or something.
It is especially problematic when I’m out of town and using Wi-Fi at a hotel. I don’t get very positive responses when I go to the front desk and ask them to restart their router!
If you can you give me any suggestions on what is going on, I’d sure appreciate it.
— Rod Case
A: Network connections — especially those over Wi-Fi — are often unreliable. Internet connections can be dropped as a result of insufficient signal strength, bad wiring or connectors, radio-wave interference or a problem with the client network adapter. Finally, yes, it may be that the router needs to be reset.
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The first thing to check is whether all computers connected to the network are having the same issue. If so, reboot the ISP’s modem. If it’s only computers connected over Wi-Fi having the problem, reboot the Wi-Fi router. If it’s only one computer that can’t connect, try rebooting that computer.
If the problem with that one computer is chronic, make sure you’ve got the latest drivers for the client network adapter installed. If the drivers are current and the problem persists, my suspicions would grow that there is a hardware problem with the client adapter.