Readers Questions Part 2

This week I’ll again spend a bit of time answering a selection of readers’ questions in the hope that I can resolve some of your most common problems.

I have been following your Click column in the Herald Express for some time and find it useful, being very new to Windows, etc.  I followed your recent instructions on updating and managed to update most of our programs although, I cannot download DirectX 8.1 upgrade; it takes almost an hour and every time I try (and I have tried many times this last week) I lose the connection somewhere during the download time.  We have Freeserve Anytime.

As you know, when the connection breaks you have to go back to the beginning of the download again.  Can you please advise?

Alick Lavers, via e-mail

This is a common problem for many people who use the Internet which can be caused for a number of reasons:

i.Most common is that your service provider disconnects you automatically after a certain duration online (usually around 2 hours) in an attempt to try and reduce the amount of time that you spend on their lines.This practice, in my opinion is pretty pointless as it is possible to tell Windows to automatically redial if the line is dropped (found in the properties menu of the dial up networking connection you are using) and ultimately just results in many infuriated customers who are forced to retry their downloads a number of times and therefore actually increasing the overall time spent online.

ii.Although this is not applicable in your case, many people find that they are disconnected automatically by Windows after a certain idle time online.This is good if you are using a connection which requires you to pay call charges then if you forget to log off, the computer can do it for you, however many people will find that they have no use for this feature and so may like to turn it off.To do this, go to the properties menu for your dial up connection and make sure ‘Idle time before hanging up’ is set to ‘never’.

iii.Noise on the line, an incorrectly configured modem or erroneous data being received from your service provider can sometimes trigger random disconnections.This is probably the most difficult problem for me to diagnose for you but since you seem to become disconnected at different points through-out the download then I would suggest that this may be the cause.

What speed do you connect at?If it is over 46kbps or so then I’d say that your line is okay, if not then you’re probably best off getting your line diagnosed by BT which they can do for free.Update your modem drivers as well, even if this is not the root of the problem it is something you should do regularly anyway.

I would suggest in the meantime that you download and install a copy of Go!Zilla which is available for free from www.gozilla.com.This program is one of the most popular download managers available and comes with several good features, most notably the ability to resume broken downloads so that if you get disconnected half way through downloading then you can simply reconnect and continue your transfer.

Install the program, point your browser towards www.microsoft.com/directx/, locate correct version of DirectX and then when you click on the link it should automatically start to download in Go!Zilla.If you then get disconnected, just instruct Go!Zilla to resume the file download from where it left off.

I would suggest that all readers who use the Internet a moderate amount should get hold of the latest version of their modem drivers and also a free copy of Go!Zilla even if you are not currently experiencing any problems.The program has many features which you should find useful and combined with updated modem drivers should allow you to squeeze every last drop of performance out of your connection.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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