I received the letter below a week or so back following on from my advice for readers to upgrade their copies of Windows XP to the newly released Service Pack 2. I thought this users experience would serve as a good example to explain how the majority of problems can be solved or explained by a simple visit to the manufacturers’ website.

I was wondering if you could help me with a problem that I have been experiencing since downloading Windows XP Service Pack 2. Being a fairly novice computer user I downloaded this update after reading your column and now I can't get my CD writer to work. I am using Roxio Easy CD Creator Basic 5 and as I have not had any problems before I was wondering if have you any ideas as I currently can’t back up some important photos.
I find your column in the Herald Express very useful and entertaining.
Jan Jackman, via e-mail

Unfortunately for Jan, Roxio are responsible for making some of the buggiest and least compatible software in the market; back in the day that I repaired machines on a full time basis I must admit to many a late night spent fighting with their products when trying to repair customers’ machines. Rather amusingly I’ve also seen technicians shudder in fear whenever the threat of using Roxio software is presented to them

The point of the article this week is to hammer home the fact that if you are having problems with any item of software on your machine it is often a good idea to visit the website of the manufacturer and check to see if problems similar to yours has already been reported. By heading to www.roxio.com I was able to find the less than helpful comment from a Roxio technician ‘Easy CD Creator isn’t compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 2 so uninstall it’.
Bottom line is that they want you to make your Windows XP buggier than it was previously by uninstalling Service Pack 2 so that you can continue to use their naturally buggy software – What a great idea. Several users helpfully suggested that updating to the latest release of the software might solve the problems that you are having so it’s certainly worth a go but I personally would take the CD out of the drive, burn it, go down the shops and purchase a copy of the far superior ‘Nero’ instead.

In this instance the website served to explain away the problem you were having rather than fix it but thankfully most problems you have with software installed on your machine would have been reported at some point or another by other users and so it is always worthwhile taking a look to see if an update has been provided.

Even if there are no apparent problems with the software you use on a regular basis then it still may be a good idea to sit down for half an hour and visit the websites of everybody whose software you are currently using and search for suitable updates. These updates will almost always be free as long as it is a revision rather than a radical update so you could upgrade your Easy CD Creator from your current 5.0 to the latest version 5.3.5 but you couldn’t get a free update to take it to version 6. Many updates will just be to repair bugs in the software but others may provide new features or enhance existing ones.

Finally, when trying to repair problems with software do type in the problem you are having into Google to see if a website mentions the issue. For example you could go to www.google.co.uk and type in ‘Easy CD Creator 5 won't work with Service Pack 2’ as this will return several useful results. Google can also be used to look up the website addresses of the software providers if you are unsure of them off the top of your head.

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